Citizens and Chief want more police - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Citizens and Chief want more police

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APD Chief John Proctor APD Chief John Proctor
Ron Tate Ron Tate
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By Jim Wallace - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) –   Crime continues to be one of the top concerns of people in Albany. Some neighborhood watch directors say more tax dollars should go to the Police Department.

With money tight and many needs in Albany, volunteers helping protect their neighborhoods say fighting crime should be one of the city commission's top priorities.

As the Albany City Commission begins it's budget process, Albany's Police Chief yesterday made his pitch for money to fill the more than 20 vacancies still on the force, and to buy one and a half million dollars in new communication's technology.

Veteran neighborhood watch directors say it's important commissioners put tax dollars toward making Albany safe.

Ron Tate has been the chairman of the Country Club Estates neighborhood watch for 14 years, organizing 320 neighbors to keep crime away from their community. He says he knows there are not enough Police to do the job.

"I patrol around myself. Burn up a tank of gas a week looking around out here," Tate said.

Tate says he wants the city budget to put the Police Department first. "That's the most important thing. Top of the list."

Albany Police Chief John Proctor says he is trying to get as many Officers on the street as possible, hiring more patrol officers instead of filling openings for Lieutenants or Captains.

Doublegate Neighborhood Watch director Dr. Charles Gillespie, says he thinks transportation and the Police should be first in line for city tax dollars.

"You just can't go out and grab somebody and make a policeman out of them," Dr. Gillespie said. "So I think as he trains people and hires them, and gets them on the force, I think things will move along."

Tate says neighborhood watches are doing what they can to keep their streets safe, but he wants Commissioners to start to get tough on crime.

"They haven't took it serious the last four police chiefs. Maybe they going to give him more authority and more backing down there. Hopefully they will down there. But we'll have to see on that."

Dr. Gillespie says he thinks Chief Proctor is making progress, and wants city commissioners to give APD the funding needed for more officers to hopefully lower crime on the streets.

Dr. Gillespie says his neighborhood watch has set up an instant e-mail alert system to notify them about crime concerns, and he says the more than 600 members of the watch taking part let him know that crime is a big priority to them.

Ron Tate says he would like to see more Police Officers out of the Law Enforcement Center and on the streets face to face with the people and the criminals. The City Commission have to adopt a new budget by June 30th.

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