- Associated Press - Saturday, May 6, 2017

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) - A consultant is recommending that police in Savannah invest in body cameras, mobile computers and other equipment to keep pace with technology.

Berkshire Advisors told community leaders that improvements made by the Savannah-Chatham Police Department in recent years will be difficult to sustain without further investments - and more personnel to improve police response times.

The consultant’s report was recently shared with city and county leaders, The Savannah Morning News reported (https://bit.ly/2peFfBg).

Among the findings: Response times for high-priority calls 90 percent of the time ranged from 11 minutes and 30 seconds in the downtown precinct to 19 minutes and 55 seconds in the western part of the county.

Savannah Alderman Tony Thomas said the news was “eye-opening,” while Alderman John Hall said he was shocked to see the Islands Precinct in his district had the third-slowest response time of the five precincts.

“When people complain about it taking forever to get someone to respond, their complaints are well founded,” Hall said.

The meeting was just a brief overview of the study’s findings and the council and commission members are now expected to review the detailed report.

Savannah and Chatham County merged their separate police departments in 2005. But county officials almost terminated the merger agreement a decade later, saying county taxpayers weren’t getting a fair return as most police resources went to the city.

Both governing bodies had agreed to have the study conducted as part of a new police merger agreement adopted last year to develop an “evidence-based” funding formula. The agreement reduced the amount of funding the county would reimburse the city from $14 million to $12 million in 2017, but the cost share was considered a temporary measure until the study was completed. Once the new formula is adopted, the amount each government pays is supposed to be adjusted retroactively to Jan. 1, 2016.


Information from: Savannah Morning News, https://www.savannahnow.com

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