One of the most important things that we can do in creating the new city of Brookhaven is to ensure that we have a highly-professional and competent police department. Our primary law enforcement agency should be the envy of Atlanta and our police officers should be paid accordingly. Here are five priorities that we should consider in setting up our new police force:
1. We must increase the number of police on patrol to at least 9 officers at all times to reduce crime in our neighborhoods. Decreasing crime is the number one goal for our police department.
2. We must staff our police department starting at the national standard of 2 police officers per 1,000 people in our city population. Only by starting at this baseline will we ensure adequate resources to protect our communities.
3. Our city council should decide on a number of police officers to be hired based on the recommendations of our new police chief and city manager. The Governor’s Commission will begin the process to search for candidates to fill both positions, so we will be ready to start hiring as soon as the new city is formed on December 17th.
4. We will contract out services for everything above basic patrol. For example, contracted services should include SWAT, Gang and Drug Units and K-9 Squad. These contracts should be negotiated with whichever organization our city decides offers us the best results at the best price.
5. We must negotiate a smooth and transparent transition from a DeKalb County Police presence to one administered by our new Brookhaven Police Department. Anyone looking to exploit this transition should know that doing so would be a foolhardy endeavor.
I hope to continue a dialogue about our new police department with the citizens of Brookhaven through Election Day. As I’ve said repeatedly, our police department should be the envy of Atlanta and our communities should benefit by being some of the safest. Proper planning and resource allocation will make the our police force the best.