Consultant’s report of SCMPD below expectations of one Chatham Co. commissioner

Consultant’s report of SCMPD below expectations of one Chatham Co. commissioner

CHATHAM CO., GA (WTOC) - A months-long, top to bottom evaluation of the Savannah-Chatham Metro Police Department is complete.

Tuesday, Berkshire Advisors went through some of its findings, covering everything from management recommendations to response times on emergency calls.

WTOC spoke with one Chatham County commissioner who says the presentation didn't measure up to his expectations.

Dean Kicklighter, the commissioner for the 7th District, has been an outspoken critic of a merged police department for some time, believing a county police department would cost unincorporated residents less and give them better coverage.

Kicklighter says the breakdown of response times by precinct only reinforces his argument, with calls in the West Chatham precinct taking the longest to respond to.

Berkshire says increasing patrol staffing is needed to improve those times.

"What's really not addressing anything as far as I'm concerned, when they're throwing numbers of police we need to hire for the overall county. They need to look at the individual areas of what the county's actually paying to protect," said Commissioner Kicklighter.

He made the argument that officers patrolling the West Chatham precinct territory have too much on their plates, having to also take care of the areas closer to downtown.

Chatham County Commission Chair Al Scott agreed that the West Chatham precinct has a lot of ground to cover.

"We have to decide what we want the response time to be in every area of this county. And then the chief will have to come up with a plan to what it will take to get to that response time, and then we'll put a cost on it," said Chairman Scott.

County Manager Lee Smith did say at Tuesday's meeting that the commissioners still need to fully digest all the information in the report and that it's early in that process.

You can read the study below:

You can read the entire Berkshire report below:

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