DOUGHERTY, Co. (WALB) - A new bill in the Georgia Senate could eliminate county police departments.
Both the Dougherty County Sheriff’s Office and the Dougherty County Police Department (DCP) could be affected if the bill is passed.
The bill would allow voters to decide if a county police department’s duties should be turned over to the county sheriff’s office.
Some residents said that having DCP along with the Doughtery County Sheriff’s Office brings them a sense of safety, while others see both agencies as a waste of tax dollars.
“The reason I don’t think it is needed is that we got three different, actually, four different agencies and all of them are doing the same thing in law enforcement,” said an anonymous Dougherty native.
The 2019-2020 Georgia General Assembly Legislation is currently reviewing Senate Bill 317.
Doughtery County is one of the 13 counties in Georgia that has a county sheriff’s office and a county police department.
The bill is currently in the beginning stages but it would be up to the people to decide the fate of the Dougherty County Police Department.
Alexia Mims has lived in Dougherty County all of her life.
“Dealing predominately with the Doughtery County Police, they’re better and they respond quickly,” said Alexia Mims, who has lived in Dougherty County all of her life.
Mims said safety is a big issue for her as a new mom.
“I would feel a little bothered by it. I would feel like a part of my life would be taken away because I know from working up at the Circle K how the Dougherty County Police patrolled through or just did wellness checks to make sure everything was OK,” explained Mims.
Mims said she thinks DCP is more reliable and efficient when it comes to timing.
“It took APD [Albany Police Department] two hours to come run the people off. I had to run them off myself by the time they responded,” Mims said.
Another Dougherty County resident, who didn’t want to go on camera, said he doesn’t understand why the county has so many agencies in the first place.
“If we get rid of one, they all will still do the same thing in law enforcement. So why not make the law enforcement span out for the city itself,” said the anonymous resident.
Mims said Dougherty County needs all its agencies to continue to combat crime.
“I just feel like, with all three agencies, it’s needed,” Mims said.
As of Feb. 3, the bill has been read by the Senate for the second time.
WALB News 10 did reach out to the Dougherty County Police Department and the Dougherty County Sheriffs Office to get a response about the bill but neither wanted to comment.
You can read the full bill and check its status by clicking here.