Police Policy Changes on Madisonville's Horizon?

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Tuesday could bring big changes to Madisonville Police Department policies.

On the agenda for Tuesday night's city council meeting are two items up for adoption.

One would be a consent search form that citizens would have to sign before police conducted a vehicle search without probable cause. Of vehicle searches conducted in Madisonville in 2005, reports show some 80 percent of them were consent searches, well above the state average.

Madisonville Police Chief George Sweetin says the search rate is high, but has also helped reduce the city's crime.

The other item up for approval Tuesday is a release form that would give permission to leave a vehicle to a friend or family member if the driver is arrested, absolving police of any liability if something happens to the vehicle in the aftermath.

At the previous city council meeting, the majority of councilmembers favored these changes, which were spawned from demands of the Concerned Citizens of Madisonville group. Those residents are claiming the police department is racially profiling residents, a charge the police department vigorously denies.