CHATHAM CO., GA (WTOC) - It's three months in for the new Chatham County Police Department and the chief says hiring is still not going the way he'd like. Still, he's optimistic about the department and the services his officers are providing to Chatham County residents.
About 30 new officers will be in the academy by this summer. They will be added to more than 70 officers on the force right now. The department hopes to have 127 sworn officers. The hiring was slow-going at first. Things appear to have taken a positive turn though with almost thirty other people having signed on in the last two months.
"We want to hire the right people. We want to do our due diligence," said Chief Jeff Hadley. "This isn't really a numbers game per se. We don't want to hire the wrong people just because."
As their numbers grow, the number of Chatham County deputies helping will go down. At first, about 30 sheriff deputies were helping.
"We're down to 17 or 16 deputies right now. It's been a great partnership," Chief Hadley said. "I anticipate further collaboration as we go on, but over time we'll dwindle that down to eventually zero."
When that will be may be a little longer. The chief has been consistent in saying he wants to have a standalone force by the one-year mark. We did ask the chief what's going well and what's going not so well.
"I think what's going well is really the positive energy that we have in the department. What's not going as well? We'd like to hire more and have more staffing than we do right now. That's really the only thing that really sticks out for me," Chief Hadley said.
The chief said the difficulties of hiring are not unique to this department. It's more indicative of the trend we're seeing nationwide when it comes to hiring law enforcement officers. Overall, he's not concerned.
If you're interested in applying, Chief Hadley said they're always accepting applications. You must be 21 and have a high school diploma.