Chatham Co. Police Department still struggling to fill positions

Published: Nov. 18, 2022 at 4:02 PM EST
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CHATHAM COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - Chatham County Police Chief Jeff Hadley told County Commissioners during their meeting that they’re short 37 police officers.

He asked them to consider improving benefits for county employees to help with the problem.

Chief Hadley says the extensive search for 20-month-old Quinton Simon’s remains that has gone on for a month, as of Friday, in a landfill is stressing their officer shortage even more. Taking some officers off their patrols...

“The detectives that are clearly 100% focused on the Quinton Simon case, a normal case load that they would take are getting shifted to the other detectives that aren’t on the case,” said Chief Jeff Hadley.

Which is straining other officers and their policing abilities.

“So their handling more cases. Their not getting back to victims as quickly as we’d like,” Hadley said. “When someone gets sick, you hurt. People can’t take vacation because we can’t allow them to take off because we need to have an amount of officers on the street to respond to calls.”

While vacancies are up, crime is down nearly 16% since last year.

“We’re staffing our beats, we have adequate coverage. We really try to draw from many areas the department so not any one division was adversely effected.”

In effort to fill some of those vacancies, Chief Hadley asked the county commissioners to decrease the vesting period for county employees’ retirement plan from 10 years to five years.

Hadley hoping this will help them compete with the Savannah Police Department that he says has a five year vesting period.

“It’s an employees market right now. It’s not an employers market. We got to kind of be competitive in all aspects of our compensation packet. Not only starting pay pension, benefits, health care.”

County Commissioners debated over the vesting period decrease but it eventually passed in a 5 to 2 vote with Commissioner Aaron Whitely absent.