There’s a new twist in the Belleville Police Department’s flag flap: Chief Bill Clay on Monday night presented aldermen a new design for a shoulder patch that incorporates both the American flag and the city flag.
In a nod to the Veterans Memorial Fountain on the Public Square, a fountain is at the base of the two flags.
“We brought some uniqueness to it,” Clay told aldermen. After he spoke, Clay received a round of applause from city officials and members of the public attending the City Council meeting.
Clay said officers will be asked to wear the new patch on both shoulders on all of their uniforms by next summer.
The issue began on July 7 when the department sent out a memo asking officers to put the city police patch on both shoulders as they got new uniforms. This patch only featured the city flag.
At the time, the police officers wore an American flag patch on one shoulder and the city police patch on the other shoulder.
After hearing complaints about the July 7 memo, Clay on July 17 changed the department’s policy to give officers the option of wearing the city flag police patch on one side and the American flag patch on the other side or wearing the city patch on both sides.
People opposed the July 7 memo because they thought it de-emphasized the American flag on the uniform while Clay noted at the time that said officers could still wear American flag lapels or tie clips.
Clay also said that most police and sheriff’s departments across the country wear their department’s patch on both shoulders.
“I don’t even like it,” Clay said of the old patch that just featured the city flag. He called it “dull.”
In other business
▪ The council approved Javier Gutierrez’s request for a liquor license for the Margarita’s West restaurant he plans to open at 4817 W. Main St., the former home of a Pizza Hut. The city’s Zoning Board of Appeals recommended that aldermen approve the request. Gutierrez already runs the downtown Margarita’s Mexican restaurant at 108 E. A St.
▪ Aldermen authorized an $8.5 million bond issue to help pay for a new police station and renovations at City Hall. Last year, the city approved a $10 million bond issue for the $18.5 million project. Work is already underway to move the police department headquarters from the City Hall annex to the Bank of Belleville building at 720 W. Main St. The bank has built a new building at 215 S. Illinois St. and will move there soon.
▪ Cory Duncan withdrew his request for a special use permit to sell firearms and ammunition at 122 Delmar Ave., which is zoned for single-family residences. The zoning board voted 5-0 last month to reject the request.
▪ Aldermen tabled a request by Herbert Patterson, who wants to open a used car dealership at 913 Sherman Ave. This is in a heavy commercial zoning district. On July 23, three zoning board members voted in favor of his plan and two against. However, four votes are needed to qualify as a recommendation to the City Council.
▪ The Righteous Pig Bar-B-Que restaurant at 124 E. Main St. was granted a special use permit for a liquor license.
The next meeting
The City Council’s next meeting will be at 7 p.m. on Aug. 17 in City Hall at 120 S. Illinois St.