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      Amarillo Emergency Service moves to Amarillo Police Department management

      Amarillo Emergency Service will move from the management of the Office of Emergency Management to Amarillo Police Department.

      The O.E.M said this decision has been talking about this decision for a while, and said this works better with APD work.

      "AES is law enforcement based with traffic control accidents so it was a natural transition that made sense" Office of Emergency Management's Kevin Starbuck said.

      He said they will still coordinate with APD for storm spotting, and priority will be based on the situation.

      Starbuck said the main change will be the city's shift in funding.

      "In the next fiscal year on October 11, it'll come into play and funding will shift from the Office of Emergency Management to the Amarillo Police Department," Starbuck said.

      Starbuck said they currently receive $18,000 from the city to reimburse volunteers.

      Amarillo Police Department's Sgt. Brent Barbee said while they have always had good communication, they will be able to connect more directly with the A.E.S.

      "In the next few days and weeks, we will have regular contact with them and attend regular meetings," Barbee said.

      Barbee said while they will now be under police management, he is "not aware" of the AES being able to have police powers like ticketing.

      He said this will allow for more police to patrol instead of having to control traffic, which can be taken over by AES volunteers.

      "When one of those volunteers take a post, that's more police we have out there doing what they're trained to do," Barbee said.

      Starbuck said they also have city volunteers to use as storm spotters along with AES members. He said they will utilize them during daytime hours when AES members are not available.

      Both the OEM and APD said this transition in management is already taking place.