By Florence Rankin



TIFTON - The two functions of the new police department/municipal court facility will get separate billing in the building's name under a compromise worked out by members of the Tifton City Council Monday.

At the city's August workshop, Public Works Director Larry Riner said an informal survey of police department employees yielded two "top priority" votes each for the names "Tifton Police and Court Services Center," "Tifton Criminal Justice Center" and "Tifton Police and Court Services" for the new building, which is almost finished and needs to have the name placed on the cornerstone.

Eighteen employees voted to keep the name "Tifton Police Department" and eight for "Tifton Municipal Court."

Council member Dave Hetzel was strongly in favor of "Tifton Criminal Justice Center," and Police Chief Jim Smith and City Attorney Greg Sowell said they felt the name should not link the court and the police department in the public's perception. Mayor Paul Johnson wanted the "police department" name to be visible from Highway 82.

"If you want to stir up a disagreement, just try to name something or pick a color for carpet," Vice Mayor Joe Lewis quipped as members considered first one idea and then another.

The council spent the better part of 30 trying to choose a name before City Manager Charles Howell suggested putting the words "Tifton Municipal Court" above the door of the court entrance on Highway 82, putting the name "Tifton Police Department" over the police department doors on Commerce Way and erecting a brick sign on 82 saying "Tifton Criminal Justice Center."

Although the council was meeting in a workshop setting and did not officially vote, all of the members indicated they would be comfortable with the agreement.

The 32,000-square-foot center, at the corner of Commerce Way and Highway 82, is part of a $3.6 million project that includes the Main Street office, Welcome Center and meeting rooms. The project was funded with Special Local Option Sales Tax money.

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