The Fernandina Beach Rotary Club recently welcomed Fernandina Beach Police Chief Jim Hurley who presented the Officer of the Year and then gave an update on the department. Hurley said he continues to work on reducing the budget by using part-time staff and the Police Auxiliary Corp to perform non-crime-related functions. In addition, some of the department’s expenses are covered by funds raised from the sale of items confiscated during drug busts or from state and federal grants rather than from the general fund. He also noted the city can boast the lowest crime rate it has seen since record keeping began. He touched briefly on the ongoing debate about gun control, which he said was a complicated issue. Hurley said some areas that should be addressed include how to toughen illegal gun possession laws, requiring stricter background checks and preventing mentally ill individuals from owning guns. He closed by announcing that the Fernandina Beach Police Department and the Nassau County Sheriff’s Office recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding that will significantly improve cooperation between the two agencies.