Berkshire Study: What’s next?

Berkshire Study: What’s next?

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Two years ago, city and county managers proposed a 10-year agreement contingent on conducting a cost share study in the first two years.

In October 2015, Chatham County Commissioners voted to end the merger, but it was vetoed by Chairman Al Scott. Months later, the city and county adopted the agreement contingent on conducting that study.

It stated an evidence based formula must be created by March 2017. The city and county must agree and adopt a formula.

The agreement may also be terminated any time after December 2017 by six months written notice from one party to another.

Basically, the city and county knew all along that they could disagree with study findings and decide to pull out.

Now it's unclear if the results of this study - that cost taxpayers more than $100,000 - will even be implemented now that the city and county's priorities are shifting towards creating two departments. The city adopted the recommendations of the study before the decision was made to dissolve SCMPD.

One of the major points mentioned throughout the study is that the current department is crippled with antiquated and inefficient practices.

Resources are being wasted. For example, the cost of the mounted patrol division outweighs the benefits because the horses are not being utilized enough.

The department still has a pawn shop unit, a division that's nearly been eliminated by other police departments because of tracking technology like the National Crime Information Center. A database Metro also has access to and utilized.

The study suggests this unit is overstaffed by at least three people.

The department has also failed to work with the court system to make sure officers who are being called to testify are able to also be productive while they wait, like being able to conduct paperwork or foot patrols near the courthouse.

It's unclear if any of these recommendations will even be considered now. And then, of course, the Berkshire Study just becomes among the 24 studies conducted in the last six years.

So far, only one in five studies has resulted in the city taking any action.

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