City of Savannah sets aside $1 million for new police department

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Since voting to dissolve the Savannah-Chatham Metro Police Department, the city has been looking into what it takes to make sure its new police department hits the ground running.

A recent council vote will set aside $1 million to help that happen.

This marks the third time council has voted to amend the 2017 budget. It's a necessary shift in funds that will go toward an Eastside Precinct and two substations on the west side of the city.

"We definitely have to start moving forward with how we're going to start operating our police department after Feb. 1," said District 4 Alderman, Julian Miller.

The city is still scoping out potential spots for the precinct and substations, city staff adding that the substations will be placed to ensure the seven-minute response time. The $1 million will also help establish a space for the Forensics Unit and Traffic Unit.

"Even though the public hasn't seen too much publicity yet, the work is being done and will be presented soon," said Michelle Gavin, Spokeswoman, City of Savannah.

Along with locations of the new precinct and substations, where officers will report to will also soon be revealed.

"It matters more to the police officers than it will the community because the police officers don't respond from a building. They're still going to be out in their beats, patrolling the neighborhoods; being in the neighborhood when the call comes in that they need to respond to," Gavin said.

While council only votes on staff recommendations for the future of the department and department facilities, Alderman Miller shared what he'd like to see as Savannah moves to a standalone department.

"In this structure, we probably need three or four precincts to cover the city and cover it effectively and efficiently, and that's the process that's going on," Alderman Miller said.

The city plans to have a lot of answers for officers and citizens alike on the future of the department very soon. We could have a clearer picture in a matter of weeks.

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