Albany leaders discuss potential housing near Driskell Park

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Published: Sep. 6, 2021 at 4:51 PM EDT
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - Albany leaders are looking for ways to retain more police officers through incentives.

One thing they’re considering is housing in Albany. As the City of Albany makes a $4 million investment into the park, City Commissioner Chad Warbington brought up the idea they may be able to bring more to the area in terms of living.

“There are a lot of opportunities around Driskell Park, there are a lot of vacant lots, there’s a lot of houses that the city has leans on,” said Warbington.

Chad Warbington, ward 4 city comissioner
Chad Warbington, ward 4 city comissioner(WALB)

Warbington said having officers living and present in the area could also help with safety.

“If there is an officer that lives on a street, that gives you a sense of security and a sense of safety just having a car parked in the driveway,” suggested Warbington.

Albany Police Chief Michael Persley said higher salary and other incentives would help with their call volume as they are understaffed.

Albany Police Chief Michael Persley
Albany Police Chief Michael Persley(WALB)

“Nobody else in Southwest Georgia has the call volume we have. You may go work for another agency that has way less call volume, but they are only a dollar off from where we’re at then I think we do need to separate ourselves because we really need people,” said Persley.

City Manager Steven Carter agreed that while they’re making such a large investment, there may be other ways to make an even larger impact.

City Manager Steven Carter
City Manager Steven Carter (WALB)

“I think it makes sense since we’re looking to invest such a large amount into that one area that we do look around and see if we can bring the whole area up, not just a block,” said Carter.

Warbington said the housing could be an option for all city employees and not just police officers.

“We’re just trying to bring that area up, fill vacant lots and it really could revitalize that part of the city where we’re about to make a large investment,” said Warbington.

Commissioner Warbington said getting more officers to patrol is a key element in preventing crime.

“As we look at recent violent crime within Albany, I feel like with more officers, more higher trained, more tenured officers, certainly would be a help to lower that,” said Warbington.

Other incentives the city is discussing include salary, education and longevity pay.

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