On several occasions, during City of Brookhaven City Council Meetings, the topic of a Brookhaven Police Force has been discussed. The conversations have been very consistent – that plans are for the City to assemble a Police Force in Summer 2013…but it has also been discussed – nearly in the same breath – the need to get a Permanent City Manager hired as soon as possible, who will ultimately hire the Chief of Police.
In an email sent out by Mayor J Max Davis on January 23rd, Mayor Davis explains, “We should have our City Manager search wrapped up in February. This will let us start building our Police Department which should be up and running this Summer.”
Some factors that will play a roll in the creation of our own Police Force are adopting the 2013 Budget, the number of officers our budget will support, Intergovernmental Agreements (IGA) for Special Units such as S.W.A.T., Bomb Squad, Gang Units, etc. And not to mention, what the Brookhaven IGA with the County for Police has/will cost the City while we are getting our framework solidified. It really does boil down to what we can afford as a City – across the board.
During the Brookhaven City Council Meeting held on January 22nd at Congregation Or VeShalom, Interim City Manager, Marie Garrett, provided an update on the hunt for the Full Time City Manager position being conducted by Slavin: “Slavin has sent over a number of resumes to our HR Director, Rick Stone, who is working right now on 5 of them. They’ve conducted 2 phone interviews with others slated this week. After they [Slavin] finish with those, I’ll review and get those over to you [Mayor Davis].”
The issue of establishing a Brookhaven Police Force that can provide equal or better protection than residents currently receive from Dekalb County Police Department, is front and center in the minds of many – if not all – Brookhaven Citizens. Another important aspect – aside from the financials – of our Police Department is familiarity with the community. The beauty of Brookhaven is our cultural diversity and it will be critical to have officers who understand the languages, the cultures and the people in general to be most effective.
This is and will continue to be a hot topic and the solution sits squarely on the shoulders of what the budget will yield, all-the-while the Mayor and Council must also address other areas such as enhanced parks and other city services – and find a balance between what the City can provide and what the City can afford at this early stage of existence.
The Brookhaven Post has been informed that there will be public meetings and public work sessions throughout the decision making process and that public input will be solicited and welcomed.