Savannah CARES task force still accepting community feedback

Savannah CARES task force still accepting community feedback

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - The Savannah Citizens Accountability and Review of Emergency Services, or CARES, task force is looking for your feedback on your relationship with the police department.

Two outreach interview events are in the books, three more remain.

The first CARES task force public outreach session didn’t produce the numbers those looking to garner feedback hoped to see. At Tuesday’s news conference, Mayor Van Johnson said that could be due to COVID-concerns.

Savannah Police Department Chief Roy Minter offered an additional explanation.

“There may be some people who maybe don’t feel the need to really comment. We get very good comments, we give comment cards that are attached to the information that the officers give our citizens whenever they go out and take a report. And they always have the opportunity to fill out those comment cards and send them back,” Chief Minter said.

Chief Minter says the department is always open though to any opportunity to hear from the community.

In addition to molding department policies and improving relations with the public, Chief Minter is also working to improve morale within his department.

Last spring, a letter surfaced that lodged complaints against department leadership and was signed by dozens of officers of varying ranks.

“I’ll tell you, going through that document, there was one thing that was really glaring and clear to me, and that is the need for more effective and timely communication in the organization,” Chief Minter said.

Chief Minter says one thing he immediately started working on following the complaint was improving that communication, which included creating a monthly newsletter, and scheduling update meetings toward the end of 2020 where any member of SPD could discuss issues or concerns with leadership.

“The really important thing for us is to make sure we’re communicating effectively, and to make sure we’re communicating regularly, and to make sure we’re addressing issues so that people hopefully don’t feel that they have to use another form to reach out because they voice may not be heard,” Chief Minter said.

The remaining three Savannah CARES feedback sessions are:

  • Jan. 26 beginning at 6 p.m. at the Southwest Chatham Library, 14097 Abercorn St.
  • Feb. 2 beginning at noon at the Carver Village Community Center, 905 Collat Ave.
  • Feb. 6 beginning at 10 a.m. at the Savannah Civic Center, 301 W. Oglethorpe Ave.

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