SCMPD Police Policy Committee holds meeting about merger - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

SCMPD Police Policy Committee holds meeting about merger


The Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department Policy Committee is meeting at City Hall to discuss the police merger agreement, including cost allocations and a new agreement drafted and presented by the county.

Both sides have voiced concerns with the current agreement.

The county has expressed concern about cost allocations and issues about not being involved enough in the search for the new police chief.

The city said the county has not been paying all their portion if the costs, and on Tuesday, both sides plan to address some of these issues.

"Parts of the merger agreement have been tweaked through the years," Bret Bell with the City of Savannah said. "I know some of the major, sepecifcally the cost allocations, those major points have not been resolved, but it's not for a lack of trying. I think both sides are willing to sit down to start a process of comprehensive and robust renegotiation."

The city was clearly surprised to receive a proposed draft presented by the county for a new police merger agreement. The county said it should have been renegotiated six years ago, and moved forward with ideas from committee discussions.

"So I just decided to take the initative and put in all into one document write it down. But now it's in front of folks, so they have something to look at, something to work from and to expedite the process," Al Scott said.

The county said they want to change cost allocations to be evidenced based rather than based on the current funding formulas, which incorporate police beats, population and certain departments.

While the county said portions of a new agreement are urgent, the city said this needs to be reviewed before anything can move forward.

"When you're talking about a document that has been in existence since 2003, then you can't just change it because someone says that's what they want to do. So we have to look at it. We have to get out attorneys to look at it. And then we have to come back together as to recommendations as to what we can or cannot do," Mayor Edna Jackson said. 

The county said they want to negotiate the part about selecting a chief before a new one is selected, and the financial part can be decided on in November.

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