More police patrols at park following robbery attempt
by David Atchison
Jan 17, 2014 | 2221 views |  0 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print
PELL CITY – Police are beefing up patrols at Lakeside Park after a man allegedly attempted to rob two women Tuesday on the non-motorized park trail.

Police apprehended the suspect, identified as Jerry Alan Hicks Jr., 29, of Ashville, only minutes after the alleged robbery.

Hicks remains in the St. Clair County Jail without bond after being charged with two counts of first-degree robbery, second-degree kidnapping, attempting to elude police and reckless endangerment.

“I want the community to know our parks are safe,” Police Chief Greg Turley said.

He said the Police Department is taking steps to deter this type of criminal activity at Lakeside Park from repeating.

“We are going to do saturated patrols through the park,” Turley said, adding that officers routinely work out and sometimes eat their lunch at Lakeside Park. “This was an isolated incident.”

He said the suspect apparently acted on impulse.

Turley said he met with the mayor and city manager to discuss additional steps, beyond saturation patrols at the park.

“We are going to go one step further (besides saturated patrols), he said. “We want to put the fear to rest.”

Since Tuesday’s incident, there appeared to be fewer people, especially women, using the non-motorized walking trail at Lakeside Park.

Mayor Joe Funderburg commended the quick actions of police in the apprehension of the robbery suspect.

“The suspect was taken into custody almost immediately,” he said. “That says a lot about our police.”

Funderburg also said Tuesday’s attempted robbery at Lakeside Park was an isolated incident.

“It’s not the norm,” he said.

Funderburg said Lakeside Park is the crown jewel of the city and officials want to keep it that way.

“We are going to make every effort to ensure our citizens are safe when they are at the park,” he said.

He said additional security plans are being considered, but he did not want to comment at this time about additional steps the city is considering for Lakeside Park.

Funderburg said security may be added throughout the park because it is one of the most popular play spots for people in Pell City.

Turley said he wants people to feel safe in their communities and in their parks.

He also said that he welcomes any suggestions from the public on how to make their community safer.

“Everybody needs to have an opportunity to express their ideas,” Turley said.

He said he welcomes public comments, and people can contact him through the city’s website at EPell.net., Facebook, by phone, or face-to-face.

Contact David Atchison at datchison@dailyhome.com.