Sycamore police consolidation talk heating up - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Sycamore police consolidation talk heating up

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May 8, 2003

Sycamore-- Talk of consolidating the police department in Sycamore with the Turner County Sheriff's department is causing a rift in the tiny town of 500. The issue is so heated--almost every registered voter in Sycamore attended a recent public hearing on the matter.

One city commissioner says a deal handing the law enforcement reigns to the Sheriff has already been approved--but the Mayor won't sign it. The Mayor says no deal has been made--and most people don't want it any way.

A Turner County deputy patrols the streets of Sycamore several times a day, "Sycamore is part of Turner County citizens there are Turner County citizens and I'm going to patrol down there and look out for them." Turner County Sheriff Randy Kendrick says keeping Sycamore safe is part of his job--whether or not city commissioners want to consolidate services, "It's unclear to me whether or not they have voted or not voted."

Kendrick, like many others, are unsure whether the city commission has voted to move forward with the consolidation. "We've contracted to do it, I don't know why the Mayor hasn't signed the papers, it is suppose to be a done deal." City Commissioner Leon James says they voted March 13th to go with the Sheriff department's contract.

But the town's Mayor disagrees. "The consolidation has not been approved." Mayor Wayne Woodruff says all that was agreed too was a proposal--but that most people want to keep the police department, "I've called about every citizen in this town or talked to them face to face and its running three to one that they don't want consolidation."

Commissioner James says he didn't like consolidation at first either--but now thinks it's a good idea. Not only will they get better trained law enforcement and more services--but it will save the city 70,000 dollars a year. Whether that's enough to convince the people in Sycamore is yet to be seen.

The city commission is meeting for the first time since that March vote to talk about consolidation. The Mayor hopes that some of the confusion is clarified tonight.

Posted at 4:25 p.m. by melissa.kill@walb.com

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