BLAKELY, GA. (WTVY) - After 18 years of teaming up with the Early County Sheriff's Office…Mayor Andrew Howard says it’s time for the City of Blakely to have its own police department.
Plans for not only re-establishing a police department, but putting dispatch and the fire department all under one roof began more than a year ago.
Andrew Howard, Mayor for the City of Blakely, says "We just felt it would all work better if we put everybody in one building...fire, 9-1-1, and police...so that they can communicate and work together because they all sort of work in the same line of work."
A new police department needs a police chief.
Will Caudill, Police Chief for the City of Blakely, say "This is a great opportunity to kind of start from fresh, to build a positive relationship with the people out there...the citizens, the businesses...we're going to need their help. It takes everybody coming together to effectively police a town. I'm looking forward to building those relationships.”
Getting all of the equipment necessary for the job has been a process according to Howard.
"It's a lot of equipment nowadays with police officers, fire; 9-1-1...it's all about technology. That's what we're doing; we have body cameras and you know...all the little bells and whistles so to speak," replied Howard.
"We're still going over some of the plans for the new facility and we're trying to get some of the details that need to be worked out and that's kind of what we're in here for today doing," says Caudill.
The new public safety complex should be completed in a few months and will allow the agencies to better serve the citizens.
"The mayor and council are interested in doing what's best for the city and keeping this a great place to live and raise a family," replied Caudill.
"We're a city that we're looking to bring people into our city. We want people to feel safe when they are in our city so having the set-up that we're going to have, I believe will give people the feeling of secure in Blakely," says Howard.
As of right now…the City of Blakely has hired 18 police officers, that's administrative and patrol personnel.
Howard says they are hoping to raise that number to around 20-22.
City officials say $3 million was budgeted for the public safety center, but the project is coming in under budget at $2.6 million.