SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Georgia Southern and Armstrong State took another step toward their consolidation.
This comes more than a year before the two schools consolidate next fall.
Georgia Southern's police chief swore in Armstrong's officers as the two departments officially combine as of this Saturday. The consolidation brings together 66 officers, 14 dispatchers and six support staff.
Chief Laura McCullough says this move makes for a better single department.
"In taking the best parts of each department and bringing them together, we're not making another Georgia Southern department. We're making a new department," Chief McCullough said.
Chief McCullough tells me the departure of Armstrong's chief accelerated this process.
"That allowed us to go ahead and consolidate the departments so we could share resources and that includes everything from training to equipment to personnel," Chief McCullough said.
She says the consolidation comes after months of work from IT networks to officer training and emergency planning. She acknowledges the miles between the campuses creates challenges.
"The way we've organized this allows us to have some key command staff on both campuses,' Chief McCullough said.
She says many things will work the same at the Armstrong campus, including the nationally-recognized Cyber Forensics Department which helps local faculty as well as law enforcement agencies all over the country. She says combining the two departments will make both better.
"That means bringing in the good from both departments - the one here and the one at Armstrong and making one department," Chief McCullough said.
You'll see re-marked police cars and trucks on the campus as well as officers wearing new uniforms.
One side note, the Armstrong campus officers are also deputized for Chatham and Bulloch County sheriff's offices as well.