Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Chief Bolton: "North Precinct is going to get a lot more "officers" then was originally proposed"
At Tuesday night's pubic safety meeting hosted by Commissioner Jeff Rader at the Chamblee Public Library, Chief Bolton and his staff came out to sell the "Road to Success Action Plan" for major changes to the police department. They also took questions, many of which were surrounding the operating hours of late night drinking establishments and Bolton (who does not make policy) did a pretty good job of deflecting the the questions.
During the last official question, the staffing levels of the north precinct were challenged and Bolton clearly stated that the numbers in the original proposal would be revised to increase staffing levels in the North Precinct in order to have proper zone coverage.
.wav file of the question and Chief Bolton's promise for increased staffing.
(2 minutes - 7 MB file size)
.wav file of the entire question & answer session
(59 minutes - 38 MB file size)
I wasn't called upon during the meeting (it was crowded) but talked to Major Calhoun the new Commander of the North Precinct after the meeting about Brook Run & speed enforcement regulations. It was at that point that I was referred to Major Horner the Commander of Special Operations, in charge of speed enforcement who was standing right behind us. Major Horner stated that State regulations mandated that only specific stretches of road which were pre-approved by the State were allowed to have speed enforcement and that Counties & municipalities were stuck to abide by these now ancient rules. We then discussed the fact that these regulations were written upon the books years ago when radar was first coming on board but now because of the high tech laser systems, the regulations may need to be revised to match the technology. (Dan, Fran, Jill & Mike are you aware of these rules?)
I talked to Chief Bolton about the use of police vehicles to be taken home as a benefit to the officers as he had proposed. I specifically asked what is the percentage of DeKalb Police Officers who actually live in DeKalb County so that the vehicles and officers would be visible on DeKalb's streets? He stated that the current number was very low and I asked if it made sense to offer County Residency incentives to those officers who lived in the county in order to defray any additional cost of living in DeKalb vs a lower cost area. We discussed that topic for quite a while whereby he explained that his implementation plan called for dispersing the vehicles to the officers who live in county first and then outward to a reasonable breaking point. Jeff Rader & I had the same discussion about officers living in the county and he thought there definitely should be some incentives for affordable housing for officers who also want to live here in DeKalb.
If County officers want to serve & protect us here in DeKalb, maybe they should be encouraged (required) to live here as well? If we need to sweeten the financial incentives to do so, I believe the County should be looking into this option to both stabilize the department and the communities the officers serve. Just my opinion.
On a final note, I met the new Communications Director who I figured had the duty of maintaining the DeKalb County Police Site and asked when would it be updated? She stated that the site is being completely reworked and will be relaunched in mid-November.