Police on Public Safety Task Force Report

Star Cpl. Fedak carries a laptop in his patrol car.
Star Cpl. Fedak carries a laptop in his patrol car.

The mayor's Public Safety Task Force report has been the topic of conversation among people and politicians all over Savannah. Now Savannah-Chatham police chief Dan Flynn talks about the report's recommendations.

The chief and all the command officers reviewed the report, but the chief was skeptical about one of the task force findings.

Star Cpl. Gerard Fedak has been on the force 14 years. His newest and favorite police tool is a laptop in his patrol car. "When I go to stop a vehicle, I type in the tag and before I have the vehicle stopped, it gives me back information alerts to me if the vehicle is stolen or the driver has a warrant," he explained.

He is one of only a few officers who can get this instant information. The task force is recommending all officers in the field have laptops. Chief Flynn agrees, and was already working on the new technology.

"We're encouraged the force sees it the same way we do," he said.

Chief Flynn agrees with most suggestions outlined in the the newly released report, like education incentives for officers, keeping foot patrols throughout Savannah, and increasing community involvement.

But when asked about the part of the report that shows a shortage in patrol officers on schedule, he answered, "Very often they are out injured, officers are in court or in training."

The one part he didn't totally agree with was the section of the report which says officers should not work off duty in bars or lounges. "Given the amount of bars and lounges we have, if you don't have police officers working there and being paid by the owner of the establishment, we're going to be there with on-duty officers."

And reminds people these are recommendations, which have to face the reality of local government. "When you get into those realities, you have to deal with budget issues and operational issues."

The chief says it is always good to see citizen input, since most of the time it opens officers' eyes to problems they aren't aware of, and one of the solutions to solving crimes is to have everyone give the police input so they can be more proactive rather than reactive.

Reported by: Kim Angelastro, kangelastro@wtoc.com