With lights flashing and sirens blaring, more than 40 patrol vehicles proceeded on to Hermance Drive in Brookhaven following a formal ceremony at Town Brookhaven.
“One year ago today, residents voted to take ownership in this community and become a city,” said Mayor J. Max Davis. “We voted for safer neighborhoods and strong leadership. Today, that promise becomes a reality with the launch of the Brookhaven Police Department.”
Police Chief Gary Yandura distributed official challenge coins to his officers while Deputy Chief Ron Freeman called the first roll call of the new department. The military has presented challenge coins dating back to World War I as a way to recognize special achievements and symbolize department unity.
“It is an honor to see Brookhaven officers now patrolling our city streets and responding to 911 calls,” Yandura said. “Launching a new police department is something I never dreamed of when I started my career as a rookie officer. Now, I am proud to say we accomplished this as a team in just three months.”
Combined, the 54-officer department has more than 600 years in law enforcement experience from agencies across the nation, in addition to decades of military service. That is an average of 11 years of experience per officer.
“Three months ago, I hired Chief Yandura and tasked him with a momentous task that only few have accomplished: start a new police department from the ground up,” City Manager Marie L. Garrett said. “After reviewing more than 1,200 resumes and interviewing 156 candidates, I am confident that we have some of the most experienced officers in the state proudly serving and protecting our city.”
The officers are divided into two shifts, each led by a veteran lieutenant. The officers are assigned to six patrol beats.
DeKalb County officers, which have patrolled Brookhaven since the city’s start in December 2012, ceased patrols on launch day. The county 911 system is providing emergency dispatch service to Brookhaven.
Non-emergency callers can reach Brookhaven Police at (404) 637-0600. Police records can be obtained between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. at the Brookhaven Municipal Court, 2 Corporate Blvd., Suite 125 in Brookhaven.