Police Merger Depends on One Vote

Tony Thomas
Tony Thomas

If Savannah's city council had to vote on the proposed police merger today, there's a good chance it would be voted down. They're divided, and some want you to know why. WTOC spoke with alderman Tony Thomas for latest.

During yesterday's workshop, Mayor Floyd Adams, who is in favor of the merger, surprised aldermen by saying he felt the merger would pass because he definitely had five votes. But according to some aldermen, the mayor might want to rethink his math.

According to Thomas, crime in his Southside Savannah district is on the rise, and it's that very reason he's having a problem voting yes for a police merger. With less than a week before a vote, Thomas and other council members, like David Jones, want a guarantee from city officials that a merger will mean more officers for their districts. But the city won't guarantee it.

"If you're going to move this police force around like a chess game, it's not going to work because you'll always be playing catch up, not going to be suppressing crime, you're going to be reacting to it," said Thomas.

The city may not be able to guarantee more officers, but it can guarantee more police visibility. Once the merger happens, police will be able to take their cars home.

"That provides visibility, and an officer who's a sworn officer gives them more visibility, more eyes and ears in the community," said city manager Michael Brown. "That's a plus."

But that plus is mixed in with several negatives, and doesn't equal a merger.

"If you can't make me assurances that this is the best thing for my citizens, I'm not going to give you an assurance that I'm going to vote yes," said Thomas.

Thomas says he knows how his fellow aldermen will vote next Thursday and according to him, his vote could make or brake this merger. The vote will take place at the next city council meeting, and we'll be sure to let you know what happens.

Reported by: Elizabeth Garcia, egarcia@wtoc.com