Fires are put out and the peace is kept in the city of Rossville by a man who wears two hats: Robert S. “Sid” Adams, the public safety director.
Adams is in charge of the Rossville fire and police departments, both of which are located at 500 McFarland Avenue in Rossville proper.
In an interview conducted with Adams on Wednesday, July 10, the seasoned lawman that has been in the business since 1978 gave a clearer image of the crime that occurs in the small 1.8 square miles known officially as the city of Rossville.
“We haven’t had a murder here in a few years, but there are shootings occasionally,” Adams said.
“Domestic violence assaults are one of the more common problems we face,” the former full-time law enforcement officer from Walker County added. “That and traffic-related incidents are our dominant crime,” he said.
In fact, when asked about the crime stats for his area, Adams said that there had only been a total of 21 arrests between June 24 and July 9.
This seems to belie the blaring media headlines often trumpeting big drug busts for the Rossville area. But, a closer look reveals the conundrum:
The city of Rossville boasts about a 4,000-person population size; whereas, the surrounding area outside the city — but which is still dubbed “Rossville,” boasts a population of approximately 30,000 people.
However, both the city and the surrounding area outside of it shares the same 30741 zip code, causing law enforcement agencies to have to report to the media the “Rossville” location name for any crime that happens in the city proper or miles away from it.
Adams takes the confusing crime reporting news in stride, as he worked full-time for the Walker County Sheriff’s Office while also working part-time for the City of Rossville until 1991, when he left Walker County to become full-time for Rossville city.
So, he has seen all types of crime — and all levels of it, not getting too worked up about the confusing way it can be reported, since he can’t really control the media, he said.
Working his way up from patrolman to director of safety of Rossville city did not happen overnight, but in 2007, when the former fire chief retired, Adams added his dual role. And, he seems to be wearing both hats very successfully.
The safety director said he has 11 full-time, mandated police officers on staff and four or five part-time guys for the police side of his responsibilities for the city, but only four full-time folks work for him at the fire department.
Adams says he could use some volunteer firemen, and he hopes that individuals will start volunteering for the fire department like they used to do.
If you are interested in becoming a volunteer firefighter in the city of Rossville, contact Sid Adams at the Department of Public Safety in Rossville at 500 McFarland Ave.
“The way they work (the fire department employees) is they have four shifts,” Adams said. “And when it comes to actually working fires, well, they are mostly medical first responders, because fires are few and far between.” But even so, the leader of the fire department says he still needs a few good men to volunteer for those times they will be needed to fight a fire.