Savannah-Chatham Police Merger Update - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

04/03/03

Savannah-Chatham Police Merger Update

First it was the special purpose local option sales tax, now it appears another battle is brewing between city and county officials: the merging of its two police forces. When it comes to merging city and county police, don't put a deadline on it. It only makes city aldermen mad.

"Nobody outside of the city set a deadline for this city," said council member David Jones. "We will do what we have to do, but someone else is not going to give us a deadline for what we have to do for them."

The county says it's ready to move forward with the merger and had asked that the city have an answer for them this past Monday. A big reason for the deadline: Chief Tom Sprague of the county police is retiring this summer, and the county needs to know whether or not to look for a replacement. But city officials aren't willing to support a merger without the facts.

"I have concerns, concerns about promotions, concerns about taking cars home," said Jones.

The city also says months and months of dealing with the special purpose local option sales tax has slowed merger talks.

"Now probably is time, I'm going to keep recommending it to council, but I would hope the public understands this is a major undertaking," said city manager Michael Brown.

It's an undertaking the city says it's just not ready to take. The city did agree to hold a special workshop dealing specifically with the merger on April 15. We'll let you know what they decide.

Reported by: Elizabeth Garcia, egarcia@wtoc.com

 

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