Police Merger Vote as Early as Tomorrow - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

09/25/03

Police Merger Vote as Early as Tomorrow

Chatham County police chief Tom Sprague has been in law enforcement for almost 30 years, but today he's retiring. Chief Sprague was the guest of honor at a surprise celebration on Hutchinson Island. Hundreds of family and friends showed up to wish him well, and share some stories. His retirement will be made official on Sunday.

Right on the heels of Chief Sprague's retirement party--and the announcement of the new police chief, Bob Oliver.--a vote on the City of Savannah-Chatham County police merger could happen as early as tomorrow (the merger would likely end Oliver's tenure). The Chatham County Commission has a packed agenda for tomorrow's meeting, and one item reads "police merger." The 15th draft of the merger is moving quickly across officials' desks and getting fine tuned.

"We met with our counterparts at the city yesterday," said county manager Russ Abolt. "We made some minor adjustments, but essentially we have an agreement that, administratively, can be enforced. The real issue will be the choice of the political leadership and that is their choice rightfully."

Now that it is on the agenda, there is a possibility that draft 15 could be voted on. The one thing missing from the meeting will be chairman Billy Hair, who tells WTOC he won't mind if they vote without him. He tells us he is strongly opposed to draft 15 and if it does go to a vote tomorrow and the vote is five to three, he will strongly consider using his power of veto.

Reported by: Kim Angelastro, kangelastro@wtoc.com

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