Tifton to hire more police - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Tifton to hire more police

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By  Stephanie Springer  - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - With the sour economy, a strong law enforcement presence is needed now more than ever.

And thanks to a new federal grant, one billion dollars will help beef the number of officers on the street. Tifton was one of 48 agencies in the peach state to be affected.

Ronnie Fletcher has always wanted to be a police officer so he dropped by the Tifton Police department to find out more about the job."I came in one day from job hunting and my grandpa said police well they are hiring trainers up there so I thought well I'll go up there and try that, it will be easy but hopefully it would be too easy."

Now may be the perfect time for Fletcher and other aspiring officers to put their applications in. Tifton police were just informed they would be receiving more than $234,000 in federal grant money to hire two more officers in the city.

"We were holding two officers positions, full time certified officer positions and two part time positions opened and what this will allow us to do is replace two of the four and it will allow us to get back on the streets and do more of the community oriented policing rather than just responding call to call," said Tifton Police chief James Smith.

Police departments in Americus, Albany, Bainbridge, Moultrie and Valdosta are among the department that will get grant money.

The chief says more officers will allow them to be more proactive when it comes to crimes in the city."We average about 1,700 part one crimes a year and out of that 1,700 1,500 hundred are crimes against property burglary, theft, gas drive offs those types of crimes."

Right now, there are 47 police officers spread thinly throughout the city.This grant is designed to put officers back on the streets, and that's exactly what they intend to do.

"We feel very lucky we are like most communities the economic downturn and the money they were receiving is the reason we were keeping those four slots open and that was to help the city through a financial crisis and to receive this money and to be able to replace two out of four of those positions it means a lot to us," said Smith.

Officers say they are expecting to get the money in September, and during that time they will begin the hiring process.

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