CHATHAM COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - The Chatham County Police Department is making some major strides since becoming its own department in February 2018.
The department is now fully staffed, plus a little extra.
Starting out with just 20 of their own officers and 28 borrowed from the Chatham County Sheriff’s Office, Chatham County Police Chief Jeffrey Hadley said being fully staffed not only allows them to prevent crimes by being more visible in different areas, it also helps them become more connected to the community as well.
“It is gratifying. It is, but what I don’t want to do is get comfortable.”
Since hitting the streets more than a year ago, Chief Hadley said now that they are fully staffed with over 100 sworn officers, they are able to engage with the community and be more proactive.
“It far exceeds my expectations, obviously, coming in and having to build a department from the ground up," Hadley said. "Staffing is certainly what you worry about the most because that’s what you need to fulfill your responsibilities out there to the community and to the citizens.”
Chief Hadley says when it comes to their crime prevention efforts, the hiring process was a very important piece.
“It was my belief when I got here that there were two paramount expectations that the community had for CCPD. They wanted to see us and they wanted to know us, and you only get that by having enough numbers and enough free time,” Hadley said.
He says the toughest part was building the department from the ground up.
Assistant Chief Terry Shoop says being overstaffed has also allowed them to fulfill their commitment to the narcotics team as well.
“By having enough officers on the street, we’re able to take and reallocate them to a different issue, like a speeding issue," Shoop said. "We’re able to ride the calls for service and get there in a timely manner; provide a good response time.”
Both Shoop and Hadley say they hope the department will continue to grow for years to come.