Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Sandy Springs follows Chamblee's lead on publishing Crime Stats. Is Dunwoody Next?

The City of Sandy Springs just announced that the City has started using the online crime mapping program offered by Crimereports.com. The City of Chamblee started on the program back in February and I want something like this for Dunwoody.

In fact I campaigned on the issue of open and transparent government and I strongly believe that all crime statistics should be available on line for the citizens who are depending on and paying for the services.

While I am looking at my original list of priorities for Dunwoody, I am reminded that I would like to see financial incentives offered to officers who live within the city limits. This evening the City Manager discussed take home cars for each of the estimated 37 officers and I would prefer to see the money usually spent on gas paid directly to the officer who is willing to make Dunwoody his home.

Retention of every officer in a competitive market is a long-term savings over the additional costs associated with obtaining & hiring new recruits; because of this our compensation and benefit program should be just as competitive and innovative as anyone else out there.



Thaddeus Osbourne Dabell said...

You have been an exemplary advocate of open, transparent government, but it is unreasonable for the citizens of this city to place this burden entirely on your shoulders. It is about time the for citizens of Dunwoody to be able to download all city documents, presentations, agendas, meeting minutes, audio and video of mayoral and council meetings from a URL with a host name containing "dunwoodyga.gov".

The failure of your colleagues to step up to the plate and match your commitment to transparency is the second most appalling thing about the entire cityhood movement.

Worth said...

Thanks again John for providing us with details of how the city is functioning, I only wish I had the time to dedicate that you have. It is obvious that the PD is a top priority of everyone, for it obvious reasons, however I am not sure what the reasoning is for take home cars for every officer? I would not think we would need as many vehicles if not for this. It would be a benefit for officers living in DUNWOODY to take cars to their homes or apartments, but aside from this it seems additional expense for the tax payers.

Ellen Fix said...

As a candidate for City Council I was privileged to attend some of
the task force briefings, including the one on police. I have also
been privy to a letter by an experienced police officer who pleaded with the forthcoming city officials to listen to reason. This officer, and the ones who candidly spoke at the task force meeting, generally seemed to agree on the following:
1. Police officers usually prefer NOT to live within the districts
they work. They don't want to have as neighbors the very people they
are ticketing all day. And they don't want to invite criminal
retribution. Further, maintaining some physical distance from the
folks they interact with (whether citing or protecting) all day helps
them relax and leave their work behind during down-time.
2. The pay for police officers, even with some sort of incentive, is generally not high enough to afford a single-family-home residence in the City of Dunwoody. Nuf said. Police officers don't generally live the lifestyle of Delta pilots.
3. As long as beat police officers are assigned for duty 'round the
clock, there is no need for off-duty officers to live a stone's throw from their beat. Give them a break. (Should an emergency hit -- like another Dunwoody tornado -- we'll have to call in DeKalb County and other reinforcements anyway. Dunwoody police couldn't handle that alone.)
4. Police officers who are ON duty can and should make themselves more
visible as they work the neighborhoods. But having an off-duty police car parked in his own driveway does not prevent violent crime from occuring
5. Community policing is a good thing, but if police are busy making themselves known on school grounds and at neighborhood pools, for instance, within subdivisions, crime that might have been prevented is
happening outside the subdivisions.

NOTE: The above reflects the views of a few police officers and may
not reflect the opinions of all.

Rich Ideas said...

I appreciate all of your work John, thanks.
As a former police officer I do agree with all of what Ms. Fix has put forth.

themommy said...


Even with the housing depression, homes are far from affordable in Dunwoody. We should not expect our officers to be renters nor should be we expect our officers to settle for less house simply because we want them to. The reality is that within a 10 mile radius, especially North and north east, there are far more affordable housing options.

I think it is important that someone pay attention to what "outsiders" are advising.

John Heneghan said...

Ellen, Rich & Mommy,

Thanks for the feedback and I agree with your comments. I wasn't mandating that officers live within the City but I would like to reward those who decide to do so.

In my hometown of Chicago, all city employees (including the police) are forced to live within the city limits. My little corner of the city had it's fair share of officers and I saw first hand the benefits of having police officers as neighbors. Granted Chicago is huge and the odds of arresting your neighbors there is very small; none the less why not offer it to someone if it makes sense to do so.

A new City of Dunwoody officer who may live as far away as Cumming will be receiving a vehicle as well as a generous stipend (paid gas) for transportation, yet an officer who decides to live in the community he serves will be doing so at an economic disadvantage.

That is what I would like to rectify.

Rich Ideas said...

I am not in favor of a city vehicle for the officers. As Worth previously said it doesn't make sense. The city would require less vehicles if the vehicles remained on site. It costs 60 cents per mile for the vehicle to be maintained. Plus the cost of fuel! If you factor that out the costs for 37 vehicles is enormous. If the city needs to be competetive pay the officers up front but don't waste money by using city vehicles for transportation to work.

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