Dougherty County calls on APD to fully staff ADDU - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Dougherty County calls on APD to fully staff ADDU

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By Jim Wallace - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) –Dougherty County Commissioners say they're tired of the Albany Police Department's habitual understaffing of the Albany Dougherty Drug Unit.

Right now, the drug unit includes nine APD officers.

The Department is supposed to provide 12 drug agents. County Commissioners say it's a problem that's been going on for six or seven years. The Albany Police Chief says he is doing all he can,  but his department is currently 43 officers short.

Dougherty County leaders say they constantly provide their 12 officers for the Albany Dougherty Drug Unit, and it's time for the city to live up to its end of the deal. They say the Albany Police Department is leaving ADDU shorthanded and putting the community in danger.

Commissioner Jack Stone says drugs are Dougherty County's biggest crime problem.

Stone said "I would say 75 to 80 percent of our problems in Dougherty County comes from drugs."

So he says a shortfall of drug agents makes the community more dangerous. And he is calling on the city to stop habitually shortchanging ADDU.

Stone said "In the last two or three years, that I have checked on it 3 or different times, and every time I checked there were shy. It's been going on for quite some time, and I think it's time to get it straightened out."

ADDU Commander Major Bill Berry says there are no second chances when dealing with drug busts, so being short staffed puts the agents in more dangerous situations.

Berry said "When you've got limited numbers, that puts a burden on the ones who are here. And they when you have people who have worked long hours, that adds to safety issues."

Berry told Commissioners that ADDU now plans their daily operations and drug busts knowing they will be short handed.

Berry said "When you don't have the numbers to help do that, we have to sit down and be more cautious in how we plan them and figure out how we are going to work an operation. For everybody's safety."

Chief John Proctor assigned 2 new officers to ADDU so far this year, and promises another officer this month will become a drug agent. That would mean APD is still two short of the 12 contracted officers they are to provide.

Chief Proctor met with the rest of the ADDU board last week.  Major Berry says you can't get blood out of a turnip, he knows APD is doing all they can do because of their own short staffing issues.

Chief Proctor did not want to go on camera today, but said he will fill the ADDU slots as soon as possible. Proctor has recently hired or tendered offers to 21 police officers, but is currently 43 officers short of his force strength.

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