Brookhaven Commission Police Committee Gets Down to Business

Sandy Springs Chief Terry Sult explained the tasks that the committee members should begin to have the city council as prepared as possible to establish its police department.

Approximately 15 volunteers with more than 150 years of law enforcement experience combined gathered in the headquarters of the Governor’s Commission on Brookhaven Wednesday night to begin the business of the police committee.

There were former FBI officials, detectives, fraud investigators, police officers and others who met because they wanted to make Brookhaven’s future police department the best it can be, they said.

“I am doing this because this is where I grew up. I was born here. I was raised here, and I want to make this a police department that others look to,” said Mark von Tschirschky, a Brookhaven resident with 16 years of law enforcement experience. He was tapped in 2002 to serve as a federally deputized Task Force agent for the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Sandy Springs Police Chief Terry Sult, who has served as the city’s chief for the last four years, provided insight for the committee members.

Sult is the appointed expert for the commission’s police committee. He served 30 years with the police department in Charlotte and then headed up the Gastonia Police Department for four years as police chief.

“We’re on the right track,” Sult told the police committee volunteers before offering them a list of tasks to accomplish so that the council has all the needed information to set up its police department.

The group needs to:

1. Determine the size of the organization. 

An estimate for a police department’s size can be determined by the size of the population it serves and the square miles of the area it will cover. Sult said Dunwoody has approximately one officer per 1,000 residents, and Sandy Springs has about 1.27 officers per 1,000 residents.

He estimates that Brookhaven may start with 50 to 58 police officers.

Population is not the sole factor in determining the size of a police force, he said. Square miles and crime statistics should also be considered. The committee should request information from the DeKalb Police Department and from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, like the number of calls for service the area receives and the FBI uniform crime rate of the area, he explained.

2. Establish a competitive salary range, comparable to that of Dunwoody and Sandy Springs police departments. Sult also suggested that the city look into 401A and 457 accounts for its law enforcement officials.

3. Analyze the type of patrol cars that will be used and how many will be needed. Car type and usage can be a huge recruiting tool, Sult said.

4. Find an entity to dispatch units. Johns Creek and Sandy Springs jointly operate the Chattahoochee River 9-1-1 Authority, also called ChattComm. Dunwoody is a ChattComm subscriber. Sult said for Brookhaven to also become a ChattComm subscriber, it would have to pay the authority enough to offset the liability it will absorb by also dispatching Brookhaven officers. Because of this, the city may choose instead to establish a contract with DeKalb’s 911 center, Sult said.  

5. Hammer out a preliminary police department budget. Sult said patrol cars will cost about $48,000 each and equipment for officers will run the city about $12,000 per officer.



“You will not have a police department stood up in December. It’s not going to happen. It simply is not going to happen,” Sult said. “Before you can hire the first person, you’ve got to have the City. You’ve got to have the budget. You’ve got to have all that approved.”

None of the recently incorporated Georgia cities had a police department set up on the city’s first day. DeKalb County charged Dunwoody $400,000 a month for the continuation of services until the city full established its police department.

The committee members discussed a range of topics from fuel costs to what to do with resumes from possible Chief of Police and officer candidates.

They also provided taskforce reports. So far, the members have contacted vendors about police equipment, visited with Dunwoody Police Chief Billy Grogan and met with Sult.

The volunteer police taskforce, created before the commission was appointed, has met every Wednesday for six weeks (and met regularly before the Brookhaven cityhood vote on July 31). The taskforce synthesized all its research and data into Google Docs and set up an internal email list.

“Everything has to start once the council sits that first night and waves a magic wand and does its mass approval of everything from ordinances on down, but you’ve got to be ready to go,” Sult said.

Jack of Kings October 02, 2012 at 04:36 PM
Sounds like Ronnie Mayer has some 'splain" to do. Six weeks ago?
Gregory October 02, 2012 at 04:40 PM
Stop telling and selling, Enuff. Quoting that website as a source for anything other than one's amusement is like quoting The Onion for examples of legitimate government policy. Nobody believes an anonymous web site as anything more than an opinon. The author will tell you this.
Gregory October 02, 2012 at 04:42 PM
Grieg you are a pest. I have been reading your silliness for months now, do you honestly believe anyone cares about your nonsense? Gloom, doom, 'fixes are in,' come on, really?
Jack of Kings October 02, 2012 at 04:47 PM
That blogspot is a venting device for someone who is angry about the city and spends some time to put up a template and gets his friends to post links here to generate traffic. No one wants to spend time typing dissertations when the site visits are "September, 2012--5 unique visitors".
HamBurger October 02, 2012 at 05:39 PM
Mr. Phil, say what you like about The Other Dunwoody blogspot, but if you followed the city of Dunwoody, TOD was an interesting commentary on subjects not covered in the local media such as the Dunwoody Crier. And, there are parallels between how Dunwoody and Brookhaven became cities. Many of those entries show history repeating itself for us here in Brookhaven. Please pass the yellow mustard!
Enuff Govt Already October 02, 2012 at 09:16 PM
@Gregory, the original blogger for The Other Dunwoody passed away in 2009. http://theotherdunwoody.blogspot.com/2009/04/thaddeus-osbourne-dabell-1936-2009.html The blog was carried on by someone else. The blog has been very insightful and it even attracts the city of Dunwoody :) http://theotherdunwoody.blogspot.com/2012/05/me-watching-you-watching-me-watching.html
Prissy Mae Millendorf, Brookhaven Socialite October 03, 2012 at 07:17 AM
My dear Gregory: It is a pleasure to hear from someone such as yourself! Your astute and direct comments to the incorrigible Grieg are on point. Pity it is that gnats, flies & Mosquitos exist.of course a good swat ends their objectives. Quite fondly, Ms. Millendorf
Grieg Ericsson October 03, 2012 at 10:16 AM
Gregory, I love you sweetheart. You're my best friend. Thanks for reading. Kiss. Kiss. Hug. Hug. ;)
Grieg Ericsson October 03, 2012 at 10:26 AM
Phil, Have a thrill. And a pill. It's tough to swallow when you have cotton mouth. http://theotherbrookhaven.blogspot.com/2012/09/post-6-brookhaven-series-challenges-in.html?m=1
Gregory October 03, 2012 at 11:48 AM
Enuff, That is a humorous website, to be sure. Often little tibits are revealed. Thaddeus is a pen name, nobody actually died, and you give the false impression this is a news source. "The Other..." is a witty and amusing set of observations, all sharing an element of truth to them. Snarky opinions do not usually affect public policy or Stephen Colbert would be running for office. Are you responsible to the run on tinfoil at Kroger's? I tried to buy some recently and was told a bedraggled, shaggy, bearded sort loaded up the entire stock of tinfoil into his beat up Ford 150 with the "Rainbows and Unicorns" bumper sticker.
Gregory October 03, 2012 at 11:54 AM
As to the topic at hand, Police services, you and your motley group of 'Nellie No Can Do's" fail to understand the BIG PICTURE. 50-60 Police officers, dedicated to a 12 square mile area will not be a downgrade. When the Code Enforcement Officers coordinate their work with the Police, Brookhaven citizens should see tangible improvements to their apartment complexes. Less crime, cleaner and more safe buildings, resulting in a long term increase in value and quality of life. This process is proven. Now, go back to watching reruns of the X Files, the truth IS out there....
Gregory October 03, 2012 at 12:03 PM
HamBurger, Confusing any blog with long form journalism is your first mistaken premise. The Crier, is what it is - Pro City, conservative, and often very slanted in it's views. So goto the Editor and complain. "The Other Dunwoody" (very accurate description, Phil) won't even allow comments, has no masthead, so it's 'publisher' is anonymous. That is not media, not even considered new media. Not saying the ideas presented are all bad, "The Other" is one person's view and not news.
Eddie E. October 03, 2012 at 12:35 PM
Gregory, Could you define how reduces police coverage is 'not a downgrade' and why we in the Brokehaven Mudprint are somehow not worthy of the same level of per-capita coverage as all of the municipalities adjacent to and within 10 miles of ours? The only justification I have ever seen is hopeful nonsense, so I would welcome any well reasoned factual information you might provide.
Eddie E. October 03, 2012 at 12:36 PM
Gregory, Now there are some facts, 'the Crier is pro city, conservative to the point of being right wing, and often very slanted in it's views'. Is the Crier still in contention to be the official organ for legal publication in the new city?
Gregory October 03, 2012 at 01:03 PM
"Brokehaven Mudprint" EddieE There are no facts or points of view that will satisfy you, since your perception of where you live is defined by the caption above. I thought you guys were all about hope and change? Right now, most of us hope we can find some change - In the couch cushion to buy some gas. What a load, EddieE.
Gregory October 03, 2012 at 01:12 PM
Yes, Eddie, untold riches await those who publish as a legal organ. Frankly, I think The Reporter Staff is far more credible a choice for the legal organ gig. Melissa Weinman, Dan Whisenhunt, and Joe Earle are first rate reporters. The Crier folks are a longtime force in things political - and they do a decent job as well. Patch is a nice diversion between news and public opinion, less serious, more raw, but useful - Like the Court jester, I suppose...
HamBurger October 03, 2012 at 01:25 PM
“TOD was an interesting commentary on subjects not covered in the local media such as the Dunwoody Crier.” Mr. Gregory, respectfully, there was no confusion on my part. Please pass the yellow mustard!
Enuff Govt Already October 03, 2012 at 01:35 PM
Hello Gregory, Your opinion is interesting but it is not the only opinion nor are your insights any greater than anyone elses. I have always tried to provide good information that you or anyone else could easily verify. Do you have any information to share? 911 volume or officer activity as a factor. I posted on here before from the north precinct year-end report. They reported some 99K dispatched 911 calls for service and some 64K self-initiated calls for service. Just the 911 calls put them at an average of 271 calls for a 24 hr period add in their reported self-initiated calls and it goes to 449 calls for a 24 hr period. They reported some 6600 arrest, an average of 18 per day and some 33K in tickets or 90 a day. As a comparison, Sandy Springs reported having 125 officers answering 96K in 911 calls (avg of 263 a day) and 4500 arrest (avg of 12 a day). http://www.sandyspringsga.org/getmedia/c7540778-583d-42c0-8c45-2d160e596850/COSS-AnnualReport-2010;;.aspx;.htm
Gregory October 03, 2012 at 02:06 PM
Enuff, Most truthful point you could ever make - "Your opinion is interesting but it is not the only opinion nor are your insights any greater than anyone elses." Nor would I purport otherwise, out of many ... Good find on Sandy Springs, I did not see that data, but looked just before you posted. Much better approach to public input than constantly railing on about how Brookhaven is doomed. Now that you have shown us your talent in research, keep it up! As well, caution your conclusions, DeKalb data may or may not be wholly accurate, though it is all we have. The 911 dispatch question is extremely valid. The issue that Dun has with Fire/Ambulance (EMS) is technical and deems careful observation. DeKalb is putting the screws to new cities for Fire/EMS, expected, I suppose. I am volunteering my services to Brookhaven and feel very strongly that 'out of many voices, opinions, and expertise, comes ONE reasonably qualified outcome. The 'armchair QB' approach is easier, and I don't judge those who choose to use it as their means of 'helping out.' At least they are engaged.
HamBurger October 03, 2012 at 02:19 PM
Mr. Gregory, ah yes, the Brookhaven Reporter . . . What a wonderfully well organized and objective debate they hosted at Oglethorpe University on July 9th. Stellar! Makes you wonder about their objectivity. My understanding the district #2 debate held at Ashford Park last week was a model that Mr. Joe should study. Special hamburger?
Enuff Govt Already October 03, 2012 at 02:54 PM
Instead of viewing it as "DeKalb putting the screws to new cities" we could also view it as the county does own the hardware and they do need to protect the software that serves the rest of citizens of DeKalb. It was Dunwoody that choose to go with a service that used a different company's software that was not compatible. As I read it the county could have said no but they did say yes with conditions to protect their hardware/software. And one other item reference the 911 system; a prominent Brookhaven resident called 911 on a cell phone and got S-Springs 911. The citizen lives close to the line and I guess the closest tower is in S-Springs and thus the call went there. S-Springs 911 apparently did not have adequate locater tech like a map over lay into surrounding cities/counties or call locater (similar to triangulation). Some firemen have told me they have a map/address overlay into surrounding cities/counties of up to a mile and one of the reasons is because of cell calls. The county is also said to use a locater that can either pinpoint cell phone calls to cross streets or cell towers. And I was also told they added a memory type feature that collects and associates phone numbers and addresses. IMO, I'm away from my family a lot (part of the reason I use a screen name) and it is discomforting to see the tried and true disregarded for what's new, shiny and untested.
Gregory October 03, 2012 at 04:05 PM
HamBurger, "And, there are parallels between how Dunwoody and Brookhaven became cities. Many of those entries show history repeating itself for us here in Brookhaven." Well of course there are direct, clear and observable parallels. Success follows success. Brookhaven will have the opportunity to avoid some of the other new city start-up missteps, and then make of few of her own. There is no doubt that the incorporation formula works, public sentiment does not favor the large County sentiment in five service areas.
Gregory October 03, 2012 at 04:12 PM
@HamBurger Several people made themselves unelectable in that debate. Both sides did a fantastic job of talking past each other and thoroughly missing any opportunity to clarify real issues. At least Brookhaven and P'tree Crners actually had real opposition to incorporation. Dun - none, Sandy - none. The moderators (Reporter) should have had a Sergeant at Arms keeping folks on time and topic. If Patch ran it, the skew might have favored your position more, but I don't believe the outcome would have differed.
Eddie E. October 03, 2012 at 04:36 PM
Gregory, Yes, the District 2 'Debate' did identify two candidates that certainly have little attachment to the community and/or understanding of the municipalization process. Of course some may think that repeating the words 'dunwoody' and 'budget' confer some sort of qualification.
Eddie E. October 03, 2012 at 04:38 PM
Gregory, By the way, you made an assumption without supplying any 'facts'. I guess it is your turn to be cheerleader, but I am still waiting on facts.
HamBurger October 03, 2012 at 04:38 PM
Mr. Gregory, regarding folks making themselves unelectable at the debate, I presume you are talking about J. Max Davis. As for the organization of the Oglethorpe debate, Brookhaven Reporter was represented by Steve Levene, Joe Earle, and Dan Whisenhunt. And they could not handle a simple community debate? ‘Nuff said . . . May I have some more of those thin sliced onions?
Gregory October 03, 2012 at 04:39 PM
Enuff, All valid points on Dun dispatch, that decision is literally analog (DeKalb) v. Digital (Chatcomm - the shiny new dispatch company) One feature that the Police used to sell Chattcomm is that their system provides a check-up feature whereby dispatch is forced to do a 'welfare check' on each officer after dispatch to a call. DeKalb doesn't do this uniformly. Uncertainty is never a good feeling in personal or professional dealings, Brookhaven has a high bar (DeKalb provides 'good' basic services) to exceed. Brookhaven will have an opportunity to evaluate 911 and a million more decisions, but the bottom line is that so far the cities that have jumped, would never go back. Just sayin'
Eddie E. October 03, 2012 at 05:09 PM
Gregory, I am comforted by the fact that modification of 911 service was NOT part of the BYES sales pitch and shouldn't be part of the discussion for quite some time.
Enuff Govt Already October 03, 2012 at 10:14 PM
DeKalb is digital & ChattCom uses Fulton County's analog system. http://sandysprings.patch.com/articles/failing-radio-system-is-increasing-problem-for-sandy-springs-police http://www.cbsatlanta.com/story/14762822/sandy-springs-police-worry-about-radio-outages-5-11-2010 D'woody officials knew that DeKalb's 911 had improved since it's low staffing issues around 2006. http://www.ajc.com/news/news/local/dekalb-improves-911-call-response-times/nQqgP/ But they made their mind up in spite of info presented to them and we look like are doing the same thing. D'woody staff in the below linked memo specifically mention DeKalb's digital system & that ChattCom operates on Fulton's "failing analog radio". http://jkheneghan.com/city/meetings/2010/Apr/04122010_Enhanced%209-1-1%20Service%20Provision.pdf & a story of D'woody on DeKalb’s digital radio system. "However, an initial stumbling block concerns frequency signals. Dunwoody uses digital signals while ChattComm’s is analog, and reconciling the difference would be costly." http://www.championnewspaper.com/news/articles/429dunwoody-assessing-911-options429.html http://www.reporternewspapers.net/2011/01/27/dunwoody-renews-discussions-chatcomm/ http://dunwoody.patch.com/articles/911-decision-criticized-after-response-to-recent-fire#video-5622946 Why did the S-Springs Chief mention his 911 service when C4ND and B-Yes said 911 would stay with DeKalb? http://www.wsbradio.com/news/news/sandy-springs-pd-forced-buy-radios-e-bay/nPZqZ/
HamBurger October 04, 2012 at 03:09 AM
Mr. Gregory, you may want to review the post by Enuff Govt Already above on Wednesday, October 3, 2012 at 6:14 PM. Please pass the yellow mustard!


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