Police Merger Workshop

How close are Savannah and Chatham County police forces to merging? Not that close if you ask city aldermen. That's the word from their workshop today. Some felt they got answers to their questions, others say they didn't and until they get them, their vote will be no deal on the merger.

Today, councilmen threw question after question at city manager Michael Brown. Savannah police chief Dan Flynn was also on hand to help. The council's main concern is whether the merger will create more police visibility on Savannah's streets, and how exactly the city and the county  will split the costs.

WTOC asked all alderman if they had to vote on the merger today, how would they vote?

Ellis Cook of District 3 said, "I think this is a good plan, I think we ought to go forward with it and give it a chance."

"Looking at what they've put together with draft agreement, I think they've covered all bases very well," said District 4's Courtney Flexon.

"It would be yes, that I would vote for the completion," agreed at-large alderman Pete Liakakis.

Then there are those who haven't quite decided.

"I'm not against it, I see benefits and advantages of it," said Tony Thomas of District 6. "However, I think we need to get a couple of other things answered before I can make final decision."

"At this point I have not [decided], I'm still in limbo," said Edna Jackson, who holds the city's other at-large post.

And others are opposed.

"No, I don't know enough about it, not enough has been explained to us," said David Jones, who represents District 1.

And Clifton Jones also wants more information. "There are a lot of things that need to be cleared up," the Distric 5 alderman said. "Funding especially."

The only missing alderman at today's meeting was Gwen Goodman with District 2. If council splits on the issue, she might be the determining vote. As for when that vote will be, probably in the next two weeks.

Reported by: Elizabeth Garcia, egarcia@wtoc.com