Savannah City Council reviews Chatham County's proposal for poli - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Savannah City Council reviews Chatham County's proposal for police merger

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SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) -

The City of Savannah and Chatham County are still hashing out the details of a new Savannah-Chatham County Metropolitan Police Dept. merger agreement.

Nearly two weeks ago the county submitted their proposal, outlining changes they want in the agreement. On Thursday, city council met to discuss those changes and how they plan to respond to the county.

One of the changes in the county's proposal is to give the county veto power on all major decisions. The county wants the same amount of power the city has, which would mean all the police officers, including the chief, would have to report to two bosses. The city said it just won't work.

The city currently holds that power because police officers are considered city employees. It costs more than $68 million to run the department, and the city pays about 70 percent of the cost while the county pays the rest. However, the county said they are already paying too much.

City council members went through all the major facts of the agreement to make sure they were all clear on all the details before they respond to the county.

It doesn't look like they will be reaching an agreement anytime soon, but Mayor Edna Jackson told the council on Thursday as long as both the city and county are still working together, there is hope.

"And the only thing we can do is continue to have conversations with each other and we're not always goinging to agree," Jackson said. "I said this to a group just the other day, but once you cut off that dialogue, then it's going to be chaos and we are keeping the dialogue going."

This is not impacting the selection process of a new police chief, and the candidates have been narrowed down to a list of eight people. The goal is to have a new chief by September, and there is a good chance we'll have a new chief before they agree on the merger.

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