County leaders evaluate future of Dougherty County police - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

County leaders evaluate future of Dougherty County police

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Lamar Hudgins, County Commissioner Lamar Hudgins, County Commissioner
Clinton Johnson, County Commissioners Clinton Johnson, County Commissioners
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ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

Dougherty County Commissioners are looking into whether getting rid of the county police department to save money would be a wise decision.

Commissioners voted four-to-two today to conduct a study evaluating whether county and city police departments should merge. They also approved a study to research whether the county should create its own fire department.

County Commissioners approved nearly $40,000 Monday for studies on how best to provide public safety services for county residents.

The county will pay $15,000 to study whether the county police department should merge with the Albany Police Department, though commissioners stress they're happy with the way things are.

"For the police, how best to provide police protection services. And there have been different comments...different suggestions. I for one think we've got the best police department in Georgia, and I think the study will confirm that," said Lamar Hudgins, Dougherty County Commissioner. 

A second $24,000 study will research the possibility of establishing a county fire department.

"If it proves more feasible for the county to have its own fire department and still maintain every benefit to the county residents, every ISO rating from the insurance companies...if that proves to be the most feasible thing to do and save tax payers money, then of course we're gonna listen to our constituents and what they want us to do in every one of these decisions," said Clinton Johnson, County Commissioner.

Commissioners said they hope the studies will provide answers to lingering questions on consolidating county police and establishing a fire department.

"Well, there's some who think we should have our own fire department. Those same people think we shouldn't have our own police department. So we just need to put it to bed, and see what 'Car/Vincent' suggests, and we'll go from there," Hudgins said.

Either way, commissioners say they're a long way from making any decisions.

Commissioners said the Dougherty County Police department does a good job in protecting the county's residents.

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