Dougherty Co. commissioners work to decrease crime

Dougherty Co. commissioners work to decrease crime
Published: Mar. 6, 2023 at 7:11 PM EST
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - Dougherty County commissioners are working to fight crime and drug use in Albany.

A few commissioners say fighting crime and drug use in the community is high on their list. And that they’re working with any department they can to aid in this problem.

The commission heard from both the Dougherty County police chief and the emergency services (EMS) directors on their annual reports for Dougherty County.

“We want to try to provide EMS all the assistance we can to help because of the fact that once someone ODs (overdoses), there’s a life at stake,” Commissioner Anthony Jones of District 6 said. “So whatever we can do to help EMS, police department, we have to do so, because we’ve lost too many citizens from the opioid addiction. Whatever we can do that Sam Allen wants. He’s the EMS director. He knows what he needs.”

EMS officials say first responders need for Narcan to help overdose patients has skyrocketed. EMS officials say they are seeing drug usage increase most along North Slappey Boulevard.

“We saw geographically that while its concentrated in the Slappey, North Slappey area that we have a problem throughout the county,” District 5′s Commissioner Gloria Gaines said. “Use of fentanyl which is terribly addictive. And that Narcan is the antidote for it. And that our EMS use of it is effective.”

Narcan is also available for private use. People can get it from the Dougherty County Department of Public Health, or while being treated at Phoebe Hospital, but not for private use.

When it comes to crime trends in Dougherty County, it has been on the decline.

“We compared favorably with past years as well,” Commissioner Gaines said. “Take one statistic which was homicides. Last year, 2022, we had one homicide, as compared to the previous year when there were three homicides. So it does compare favorably with ourselves as well, as other communities in the unincorporated parts of Dougherty County.”

Albany is also set to get new pole cameras in order to help fight crime.

The cameras will be installed randomly throughout the city within the next two to three months. And commissioners are hoping this will help to lower crime in the county.

The cameras will look for specific things such as tags, car make, model and color. Law enforcement will be able to tap into the cameras to search for specific things that may help them solve crimes.

“We need those pole cameras. Because of the fact that it’s not recording anybody’s privacy,” Commissioner Jones said. “As you know, we are only looking for tag numbers and please, just don’t commit a crime under the pole cameras. If you don’t commit a crime, you don’t have to worry about anything. And certainly, I’m looking forward to them going up and the crime rate going down.”

The commission has also been assured that citizens’ privacy will be protected.

“When it first came to us last week, it occurred to me that there may be some privacy issues,” Commissioner Gaines said. “Although, I’m being assured today that they will not. Just simply collect information on anything that happens. The algorithms are restricted to just looking at tag information or a specific vehicle.”

The cameras will be placed in locations unknown to most residents.