Albany police chief says hiring more officers is vital - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Albany police chief says hiring more officers is vital

April 14, 2007

Albany - - What is the price to keep you safe? That's what Albany city leaders are determining as they take a look at the needs of city departments. All of the city commissioners agreed public safety is their number one priority, but the idea to consider funding more police officers only got the consent of a few commissioners.

Before submitting a proposal for city funds to the commission for the 2008 fiscal year, staff members reviewed city departments' requests.

Police Chief James Younger saw his request to add 11 new officers to the department wasn't included in the city staff's recommendation.

"My reaction is one of concern," he says.

He addressed that concern at a city meeting Saturday in front of the commission. He wants to add 11 new officers to the Albany Police Department each year for three years.

"By adding an additional 33 officers would bring us up to where we were in 2001 in terms of overall strength."

It would cost $500,000 to do it in 2008.

Mayor Willie Adams said funding the extra officers should be the number one priority for the city. Commissioner Bo Dorough said before the city can fund more officers, it needs to look at other departments and cut funding. Commissioner Bob Langstaff said the city needs to accommodate the funding request, even if the city has to raise taxes to find the money.

In the end, three of six commissioners, Dorothy Hubbard, Tommie Postell, and Bob Langstaff and the Mayor asked City Manager Alfred Lott to re-consider the city budget recommendation and find the money to put more cops on the streets.

"I'm very pleased that the commission is willing to take a look at my request for additional officers because with the additional officers we can in fact provide a much higher level of service to the community and a level of service they actually expect," he says.

Because as of now, Younger feels there just isn't enough manpower to do it. 

Chief Younger says identity theft is also a growing concern. Only two APD officers specialize in this field. He says he needs five. Younger says the Albany Dougherty Drug Unit also needs five more officers.

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