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Brookhaven increases reserve to hire more officers
by Sarah Anne Voyles
svoyles@neighbornewspapers.com
September 25, 2013 12:08 PM | 1238 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Less than two months have passed since the city of Brookhaven gained control of the police department July 31.

Since the switch from DeKalb County police to the city’s police, Brookhaven has seen more patrols on the streets.

“We have more officers on the road who are confined exclusively to the city limits,” Brookhaven Police Chief Gary Yandura said. “This provides for an increased visibility and a greater presence in our community.”

The police force is comprised of 58 officers, including the recent addition of four. The city was able to acquire the new officers after the city council amended the annual budget to set aside a reserve of $1 million.

“It is rare for a new government – especially during these difficult economic times – to be able to set aside such a hefty reserve,” City Manager Marie Garrett said. “We are proud to say we did it during our first year of operation.”

The reserve was included in the annual budget that was decreased from $16,465,000 to $15,836,690 at the Sept. 10 meeting.

Yandura said he believes increased police patrols are the main reason for more police reports than before. He said the majority of complaints are for speeding through neighborhoods and other traffic problems.

Besides speeding violations, Yandura said he thinks the recent arrest of a suspected car thief is also linked to many other the car thefts in the city.

Last week, Brookhaven residents flagged down Officer Usman Latif, who was off duty.

According to a statement, these residents told Latif of suspicious behavior they saw with a suspect entering a neighbor’s yard. Latif searched the area and called for back up after learning the suspect was in violation of his parole.

“Officer Latif demonstrated the high level of professionalism and dedication to duty,” Lt. Juan Grullon said in statement. “His work reflects upon the Brookhaven Police Department and his actions will prevent this suspect from being a further threat to the Brookhaven community.”

Yandura said police have also attended neighborhood watch meetings each week since the launch day of the force to help protect the city. If any groups are interested in having police attend their meetings, residents should contact Lt. Brandon Gurley through email – brandon.gurley@brookhaven.gov.

With all the efforts of the police force to prevent crime in the city, Mayor J. Max Davis said he was proud of their efforts. He said he is constantly receiving compliments on the great job the officers are doing whether responding to wrecks and break-ins when they are off duty or giving out backpacks to school children in need – he said he believes the officers have gone above and beyond.
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