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How Many Police Officers Does Brookhaven Need?

Various numbers have been thrown out, but how many police officers are needed to serve and protect the City of Brookhaven?

The City of Brookhaven is estimated to have a population of about 50,000. So how many police officers does it need in its own police department?

Sandy Springs Police Chief Terry Sult, the expert member of the Governor's Commission on Brookhaven's Police Committee, said he estimates that Brookhaven will need to begin with about 50 to 58 police officers.

Sult explained that population of an area is not the sole factor to consider when determining the size of a police department. The square miles of the area served, along with the average calls for service and crime rates and type of crimes should also be considered.

No matter how many officers Brookhaven hires initially, Sult stressed that it's important to not "overhire."

“It’s easier to (eventually) hire more people. It’s much more difficult to get rid of them once you hire them. That’s not the precedent you want to set to brand new police officers that are coming in," Sult told the police committee members at their Wednesday meeting. "You’ll ruin your reputation, and they’ll think it’s not a stable environment for them to come to work in. You won’t get the quality people you want into the city.”

However, at least one volunteer present at the meeting disagreed with Sult.

Ashford Park Civic Association President Ronnie Mayer was vocal about his desire for Brookhaven to begin with at least 75 officers in its police department.

“To go back to the city council to ask for more money for police is like breaking your arm…We need to start with 75 officers because we have the demographics of Smyrna,” Mayer said. “This little thing on Buford Highway– it is (full of) thugs; it is (filled with) gangs. It is murders.”

What do you think? How many officers should the Brookhaven Police Department have at its start? Tell us below in the comments.

HamBurger October 02, 2012 at 10:41 PM
Mr. Eric! Cha-Ching! Look at all this money we are getting ready to take into our new city for traffic tickets! The way I drive I just may have to start walking! Plus, how about all them other fees we can start charging unlawful citizens for! We are gonna be rich with a ticket happy city and police officers just like Pine Lake, Alpharetta, Roswell, Johns Creek, Milton, Sandy Springs, and Dunwoody! Hey! Gotta pay them bills somehow! Plus, we can make our laws and fees stricter! Cha-Ching! http://web.co.dekalb.ga.us/dcrc/pdf/fines_fees.pdf Want a Cheerwine and a special hamburger while you read that bountiful list!?
Eddie E. October 02, 2012 at 10:55 PM
res, So you are intent on sticking with cheap and keeping the grand parks budget in place rather than having at least an effective replica of the currently available Police protection?
Eric H October 02, 2012 at 11:33 PM
Hamburger that's the one thing I do worry about. Not necessarily ticketing but targeting people. I trust you'll let me know if that starts happening. Though true its almost impossible to prove. Though frankly the fact I see so many Sandy Springs officers camped out on the highway makes me think they may have more officers than necessary. And another reason I don't want 70, 90 or 100 officers since it would encourage such efforts. And actually to continue that train of thought, if as you say, Dunwoody Police are writing that many tickets then are they really short handed?
Joe The Plumber October 03, 2012 at 12:30 AM
Public Service Message for those of you at J Max Davis meet and greet this evening. http://youtu.be/Q7iNZNSEfYA
Gregory October 03, 2012 at 01:00 AM
You know Ham you really ought to get out more, see what is going on. You too Eddie and Joe. Y'all sound like a stuck CD repeating the same chorus, off tune, and annoying.
Joe The Plumber October 03, 2012 at 02:24 AM
Gregory, I just returned from a call on Hampton Hall Rd. The clog was really something to be seen. Funny how 9:00 came about it cleared itself up...right about the time J Max Davis rolled out of the neighborhood. Mission accomplished. Situation normal.
Eddie E. October 03, 2012 at 03:05 AM
Gregory, You miss the point, I DO get out plenty and AM involved with volunteer efforts all around Dekalb County and North Atlanta. You might see a different world if you didn't hide out in the imaginary city so much.
HamBurger October 03, 2012 at 03:48 AM
Mr. Joe, the question is, did Mr. J. Max use this opportunity to make a safety patrol from Breton Court to Hampton Hall Drive in his golf cart? And, did the area residents feel safer with the personal attention our prospective new mayor gave their neighborhood? Please pass the yellow mustard!
Joe The Plumber October 03, 2012 at 11:47 AM
Mr. Hamburger, I can neither confirm nor deny the presence of a golf cart. I was pretty busy identifying the source of the massive clog. I did however smell chili and found an empty bottle of French's mustard. I believe I have found the culprit.
Henry Orvin October 03, 2012 at 01:35 PM
I would also like to see the new Brookhaven police department adopt some of the cost saving efforts that other cities have adopted and proven effective. For example, Sandy Springs has a group called Citizens on Patrol. This is a group of volunteers, some of them former law enforcement members, who volunteer their time to the police department. I was at a Sandy Springs council meeting where they spoke about the group. This group of citizens, about 30, helps out with dept. One specific example was that they would sit with a car that need to be towed until the truck showed up to tow it, freeing up a patrol officer. This group receives training that is more than a neighborhood watch type training. At the meeting I attended, it was estimated that the 30 volunteers did equivalent work of two uniformed officers do, realizing significant cost savings. Sandy Springs has plans to expand the group. I would like to see Brookhaven adopt this type of innovative approach not only in the police department but across the city.
HamBurger October 03, 2012 at 02:06 PM
Mr. Henry, these citizen staffed police assistance groups are an outgrowth of the very successful neighborhood watch programs taken to a higher, specialized level. Naturally, not just anyone can qualify for these citizen positions because they are a higher level of responsibility and trust. The Sandy Springs program and DeKalb’s VIP program work because citizens are involved and communicating. Folks have been critical of DKPD, but I never hear these same folks talk about neighborhood watch programs in their neighborhoods or the VIP program. This brings up an interesting discussion I had in Buckhead recently. As we were discussing Brookhaven, the comment was made that if a cat got stuck in a tree in Buckhead, you would see the fire department called to retrieve the cat but you would never see that response in other parts of Atlanta. It is just what some folks in Buckhead expect. Now, where is that number I call to have my house checked two times a day while I am on vacation? J. Max Davis said so, right? Just like the “Smart People” do . . . Please pass the yellow mustard!
Booyah October 03, 2012 at 07:13 PM
The UGA suggest 53 police officers, Jimmy Air, with his extensive background in landscaping, thinks 75 is the right number, and Zanny Murray says go all the way to 100 officers. Until the debate the other night I just couldn't see how anyone could rationalize these higher numbers. I never realized what a dangerous place Ashford Park had become, how hordes of illegal aliens from Buford Highway rampage the community to rape and pillage the residents of Ashford Park. The dangers of living in Ashford Park can be the only rationale for adding so many police. The council should adopt an ordinance arming all residents of that community to defend themselves. Real estate agents should should only risk the dangers with an armed guard. Ashford Park is overrun with gangs and thief's from the vast stretches of no mans land along the Buford corridor. Beware.
Eddie E. October 03, 2012 at 08:18 PM
res Don't confuse a private entity, loosely associated with UGA and the University of Georgia itself. Is it becoming clear why we didn't get a comparative analysis from the Andrew Young School of Government at GSU?
HamBurger October 04, 2012 at 03:38 PM
Mr. Eric, is this what you mean? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vf0sEHrjeHo&feature=plcp Hey! Show me proof of your “Blue Light” contribution to your new city of Brookhaven and I will take 10% off of your special hamburger and Cheerwine!
Henry Orvin October 04, 2012 at 03:46 PM
I have lived in Ashford Park for 22 years. The closest I have come to harm was a couple of weeks ago when I was almost run over by an SUV on Caldwell when I was in the crosswalk at the intersection of Caldwell and Redding. No gangs in sight. Just a soccer mom in an SUV. A little more white paint and a crosswalk sign would probably save more lives than a drug SWAT team. Same with Buford highway. Crosswalks and sidewalks would go a long way towards making things there more safe.
Eric H October 04, 2012 at 07:28 PM
Eddie what do you mean by a private entity? They seem to be a division inside UGA. And their stated objectives seem sincere - granted words don't dictate actions - but they seem to have a long history and good track record. http://www.cviog.uga.edu/about/history http://www.cviog.uga.edu/about/strategy.pdf http://www.cviog.uga.edu/pdf/annualreport/2011
Eddie E. October 04, 2012 at 07:49 PM
Eric, Two questions: 1-What division is in charge of feasibility studies (and pricing them)? 2-What was the last propose municipality that was deemed 'not feasible'?
Eric H October 04, 2012 at 07:58 PM
1, I don't know. Why do you ask? 2. I don't think any municipality has been deemed not feasible. Though all the cities recently formed have proven to be feasible in reality. So back to my question, why do you appear to categorize CVI as a private entity? I'm seriously asking here since my review of their website didn't indicate that, though I didn't read every page they have. Also, if I may add a question. What cities have used the Andrew Young Schold of Gov at GSU to do their potential new city study?
Kestrel Larson October 04, 2012 at 08:02 PM
Eddie and Eric, CVIOG just kept expanding the study area until it broke even - or as close to it as possible. Fact. The other thing is that they were tasked to come up with a scenario that was feasible not come up with a scenario that is not. The Jacobs Study was delivered as was requested. BUT! All of this is water under the bridge now. The city is here. NOW we ALL have got to pay for whatever it looks like. All I can say, I WANT EVERYTHING THEY PROMISED. And now please!
Eric H October 04, 2012 at 08:53 PM
Good point the city is here now, so in a year we won't have to argue whether the study was totally off base or whether the city is feasible - we will pretty much know it.
Brookhaven Maven October 05, 2012 at 04:14 AM
You guys need to stop taking money from the parks budget to fund additional police. We can do without repaving 19 miles of road in the first two years of existence (like our smarter neighbor to the north) a lot better than we can watch our parks keep going downhill. If the police will keep trucks off the roads they aren't supposed to be on, then those roads won't need repaving but once every 10 to 15 years. That way, the extra police will pay for themselves by reducing repaving costs. Fines levied against those trucks would also generate a substantial level of funds to help offset the added police cost. Have any of you guys attended any of the open-to-the-public (Said with tongue in cheek.) police committee meetings? It seems like the whole purpose of cityhood was to give us government closer to home. Would be nice if it were actually true, so that we could let those who are making decisions on our behalf know exactly what our expectations are --- versus relying on a made-to-order CVI report. Also, as I pointed out in another thread, CVI included Smyrna (WITHOUT jail costs) in their comparison, since that city is similar in geographic & population size and in crimes committed. Why would we staff our fair city with any fewer policemen than Smyrna, if it was truly a good comparative city? -- The Maven
John Q Public October 05, 2012 at 11:28 AM
Roger, There is no "transfer". It's called PURCHASE. The parks also have "liens" on them as they are collateral for loans and notes. All of that has to be worked out. And what is even more fun, any notes or loans where there is money owed, guess who will have to pay them off, Brookhaven. So have fun and be sure to get out in your parks and have a great time and think about how much you would be willing to pay for that fun.
Greg Trinkle October 05, 2012 at 11:50 AM
Take a look at what the FBI Recommends. The CVI study came up wtih 53 because that is what the budget they came out with. Has nothing to do with public safety. In other words, when real world revenue streams filter in, yes we will need to take money from the parks so that we have an adequate size police force.
John Q Public October 05, 2012 at 11:54 AM
Greg, You are correct. It's called make it look good on paper because people won't read it anyway. Look, people did not vote for the city because it made sound financial sense. They voted no to Dekalb County without even trying to work with the county. http://theotherbrookhaven.blogspot.com/2012/09/post-5-brookhaven-series-power-of.html
William Baxter October 05, 2012 at 12:28 PM
This statement by this person Mayer is not only idiotic but racially tainted. I throw down with the experts
HamBurger October 05, 2012 at 12:35 PM
Mr. John, you are crazy. If you do your research Rep. Mike Jacobs has stated several times that there is more than enough revenue to fund his new city and provide top notch services and amenities. All this talk about having to rob from one budget to take care of another is absurd, just review in detail the Vinson study and you will readily see that it covers everything. We are going to have a wonderful new city! Now if you will excuse me, I have some rose colored glasses I need to purchase. Ah, that special hamburger and Cheerwine is going to taste so much better once we have Rep. Mike Jacobs new city!
Booyah October 05, 2012 at 01:20 PM
Direct quote from Hambuger "there is more than enough revenue to fund his new city and provide top notch services and amenities" For once our beefy expert is correct.
John Q Public October 05, 2012 at 01:39 PM
Mr Hamburger, Once you secure those rose colored glasses, please review the CVI again. You will find rainbows, lush lawns, money rolling in in wheelbarrows and butterflies landing on the shoulders of the residents. There will also be a happy tune playing all of the time like elevator music. It will be grand....and you may even find J Max Davis (pending lawnmower investigation case being solved) humming to himself while enjoying a nice cool bud at 8 am mowing the grass at the parks.
Eddie E. October 05, 2012 at 02:16 PM
res, Once again proving that some people lack a sense of sarcasm.
Eric H October 05, 2012 at 02:44 PM
Brookhaven is very different from Smyrna. Smyrna is 15.3 square miles vs our 12. But more importantly, it has a very oddly shaped boundary with numerous islands of unincorporated area. http://www.smyrnacity.com/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=2014 I suspect this is from odd parcel by parcel annexations over the years, but it certainly makes its size much larger from a patrol point of view than our contiguous and uniformly shaped boundary. Also and perhaps this is a function of their coverage area, they have a much wider dispersion of crime which would necessitate more patrols to keep adequate response times. https://www.crimereports.com/ While Smyrna has similar demographics in that its poverty level is 13.7% vs. Brookhaven's 12.2% it has a different age and cultural makeup http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/13/1371492.html . In other words much of Brookhaven's poverty rate is comprised of first generation immigrants, and first generation immigrants have a demonstrated lower crime rate than those who have been raised in families that suffered through consistent cycles of poverty. Smyrna also operates and mans their own 911 in addition to their own jail (yes these are not included in patrols - but are managed. Though they do have their own internal SWAT unit. http://www.smyrnacity.com/index.aspx?page=377 and probation unit.

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