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Stockbridge to form own police department
by Staff Reports
July 17, 2013 10:52 AM | 5171 views | 7 7 comments | 77 77 recommendations | email to a friend | print
After 35 years of county police protection, the city of Stockbridge has decided to once again have its own officers patrol its streets.

“This historic decision tonight is in no way a reflection on the services currently provided by Henry County Police,” said Stockbridge Mayor Mark Alarcon at a special called meeting Tuesday. “It’s about accountability and public safety. Our goal is to build a diverse team of highly-trained officers that will be engaged in our community. Public safety will always be priority No.1.”

Stockbridge has not operated its own police services since the city council dissolved the department on June 15, 1978 and handed the reins over to the sheriff’s department.

Henry County Police took over when its department was created in 1991.

Stockbridge residents don’t pay city taxes but do pay county taxes for countywide services, which includes police services in the city.

Alarcon said he expects a millage reduction for those services from the county so as to help fund the Stockbridge Police Department.

The city council met Tuesday to review and revise all of its service delivery strategies, which gives Stockbridge the opportunity to reach agreement with the county on the delivery of services in an effective and cost-efficient manner to its residents.

The county is currently required to provide the same level of police services to the city of Stockbridge as it does to the unincorporated areas of Henry County, according to an intergovernmental agreement.

The city has paid an additional $1.45 million to the county over the past three years for two extra officers per shift and another $2.56 million to renovate its former city hall, which the county rents as its North Police Precinct.

The city contracts annually for about $155,000 in additional off-duty police services.

Alarcon said some initiatives of the new police force will include neighborhood watch programs, community-oriented policing, a citizen’s police academy, public safety training for residents, in addition to providing stellar police services to the Stockbridge community.

He estimates the new police force would be operational next year but said Stockbridge will need to coordinate its efforts with the county.

The mayor said the city will seek state and federal grants to offset its start-up costs.

In addition to police services, the city council also decided Tuesday night to bring back in-house responsibility for building permits and inspections, the city’s comprehensive plan, planning and zoning, and soil erosion and control inspections.

For more information, contact Alarcon at (678) 951-5561 or malarcon@cityofstockbridge-ga.gov

Henroy County Police Chief Keith Nichols issued the following statement this afternoon:

"The Henry County Police Department has had a very positive and beneficial relationship with the city of Stockbridge for many years. I personally have experienced a 22-year relationship with the city and feel that Henry County Police Department personnel has excelled in meeting the law enforcement challenges that they have faced in this growing community. I obviously have mixed emotions regarding the end of this relationship. On one hand, I am saddened by this decision but comprehend why they decided to pursue this path."



Our agency has an excellent working relationship with all the city police departments in Henry County and we look forward to continuing our goal to make Henry County the safest community possible in partnership with the future leaders of the Stockbridge Police Department.

Comments
(7)
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dj.99999912
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July 28, 2013
best move ever, but we don't want it to be a political move so therefore we need to keep the Stricklands and Mc garrities out of it we all know that they have to much control already.

Can we move the city limits to Flat Rock Rd we are ready for a change and are not happy with HCPD.

thanks stockbridge change welcome
John Doe
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July 21, 2013
I commend Stockbridge for creating a diverse force which doesn't exist in HCPD.
Way To Go
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July 19, 2013
I am proud of the Henry County Police and the men and women who protect Stockbridge.

With 26,000 residents, the time had come whereby creation of a new City Police force makes good sense. The protection of each person and their home is most important if the city is going to leap into the future.

I applaud the Mayor and City Council for taking this momentous step. They have had the vision to provide a community center, they have brought arts to the city, they have brought $15m of fiber optics to Stockbridge at no cost to the citizens and more. This group has a vision for the city and its happening....actions ..not just words.

Angie S.
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July 17, 2013
I have to say.....I think this is one decision that Mark Alarcon has made that I actually really like! I will be patiently awaiting the new Police Force this next year!
needing change
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July 18, 2013
Looks like Stoney Mathis will be employed in Henry County after all.... Guess where BJ cause Stoney will follow... political puppetiers!!!
Honorable Citizen
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July 23, 2013
Good move...need to have their own PD as the city has grown. Don't see anything wrong with it, but it's not cheap to start and maintain a Department...
Been there
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August 20, 2013
With a more than 50% turnover rate among officers since Abernathy left HCPD, and the continuing advancement of those who have no interest in improving police services, I can understand why the city wants its own police dept.

You need only look at the average length of service that officers have at HCPD and compare that to surrounding and like sized agencies and you will see that HCPD is far behind. The "leadership" there is no different. There are too many complaints to list here but there is no doubt that there has been an exodus of people that wold be hard to rival. The list of great people that have left and are true "leaders" where they are now is long...

With all that, who can blame the city??
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