Garden City Police hiring more officers, installing gunshot detection tech with federal funds

Published: Jun. 8, 2023 at 5:01 PM EDT
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GARDEN CITY, Ga. (WTOC) - More American Rescue Act dollars are going to communities across Georgia; this time focused on public safety.

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp announced the series of grants on Thursday. The grants total more than $83.5 million.

Six of our local communities are getting a piece of the pie. Savannah, Sylvania, the Metter and Statesboro Police Departments, and the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office are all getting one grant each.

That money will go to everything from support for violent crime hot spots in the Hostess City to more support for investigators in Metter.

The largest amount of money coming to our area is headed to the Garden City Police Department.

Garden City Chief Gilbert Ballard said these grants from the state will help them launch a crime suppression unit they’ve been working on for quite some time.

The police department has been awarded more than $1 million to fill critical officer positions. Chief Gilbert says the money will pay the salary for three officers to staff the new unit.

They’ve also been given more than $157,000 for gunshot detection technology. They’ll be buying a Flock Safety Raven to place near the new K-12 school on Highway 21.

It will help them get real-time evidence on gun related crimes.

The new officers on the crime suppression unit will work hand and hand with the new technology.

“They’ll be able to utilize that technology, know what the hotspots are, work with our detective division on the intelligence, have an understanding of where those hotspots may or may not be and they can physically be on the scene to engage with our community and hopefully disrupt any type of criminal activity that may be taking place,” Chief Ballard said.

While there are still a few steps ahead before the funding can hit the bank, they say they hope to start filling these positions by the end of the year.