Police Department to be restructured: New chief will be hired, several high-ranking positions eliminated

SHEILA MATHEWS :::

Griffin City Manager Kenny Smith is seeking approval from the Board of Commissioners to move forward with a restructuring plan for the Griffin Police Department. Smith’s proposal includes the hiring of a new chief of police; the reassignment of now Chief Frank Strickland as public safety director; the elimination of three high-ranking positions, which will result in two men losing their jobs and one being demoted; and the hiring of one code enforcement officer.

Capt. Dwayne Jones, who is assigned to Administrative Services, and Maj. Terry Brock, who oversees the Criminal Investigation Division, have been told their positions will not exist after Feb. 1. Maj. Homer Daniel, who commands the Uniform Patrol Division, will be demoted to the rank of captain and will incur a five percent pay cut. Daniel will remain over UPD, and Capt. Donald Britt will take the helm of CID.

Strickland, who has for ten years been identified as the city’s public safety director, will maintain his current salary of $105,000 annually.

“The plan that I’m going to present to the commissioners has the Chief (Strickland) being a true public safety director,” Smith said. “In the past, he’s served as both, but the restructuring plan has him moving to One Griffin Center as a true public safety director, and we’ll be hiring a new police chief to run day-to-day operations of the Police Department.”

The new police chief’s salary will be, at minimum, $70,844.80.

Smith said he has informed Jones and Brock – who are both eligible for retirement – that although their current positions are being eliminated, three patrol officer positions at the Police Department are currently open, and they are welcome to apply for those position if they so desire.

“They’re eligible for those positions at the Police Department, the Code Enforcement officer position, a position at Solid Waste – any position we have open within the city – they would be eligible to apply for it,” Smith said.

He explained he is making these recommendations as both a cost saving measure and as a means of meeting the commissioners’ expressed desire to address  issues negatively affecting quality of life.

“Back at the beginning of the year, the city Commission had its annual workshop and a lot of the discussion at that time was on code enforcement, substandard housing and quality of life issues. They very emphatically set a goal and told me we needed to get a handle on, and discuss, quality of life issues,” Smith said.

This led to the formation of an ad hoc Code Enforcement Task Force that was comprised of personnel from the Police Department, Code Enforcement, Griffin Fire-Rescue and the building inspector, among other city departments.

The Task Force worked throughout the summer and into October, following a plan that had been laid out to address substandard housing and other code violations.

Upon being disbanded in October, the Task Force commander, Capt. Keith Daniel, of the GPD, recommended the city designate a Code Enforcement officer each or Zones 1 through 4.

“After six or seven months, we had the option of going back to our two Code Enforcement officers or continuing with a plan to continue the inroads the Task Force had made over the summer,” Smith said. “We have also recognized and realized for probably the last six, seven or eight years or so that our Police Department budget is higher than those of similar jurisdictions our size – some larger – and we have realized and discussed that our Police Department is heavy on rank and administrative positions. So, actually, the plan came from the Code Enforcement Task Force that we need a minimum of four Code Enforcement officers, and the reorganization plan is to have four Code Enforcement officers.”

There are now two Code Enforcement officers,  but Smith said an environmental compliance officer from the Solid Waste Department is being transferred as a third; and a fourth additional position is being added, to fulfill the Task Force recommendation.

“That obviously has budgetary implications. Over the last several months, we have been looking at the mid-year budget. Being conservative in nature, we’re concerned with meeting our budget projections,” Smith said, attributing the potential budget shortfall to the cool, wet summer that resulted in decreased enterprise fund revenues. “Our General Fund revenues are also down as we approach mid-year in our budget. So, obviously, to add a Code Enforcement officer when our budget is not meeting revenue projections is a dilemma.”

Smith said by including the annual salary of Capt. Keith Daniel, whose voluntary retirement at the end of November is unrelated to the restructuring plan, he projects savings of $140,000.

Asked if his proposal signals the only pending personnel changes at the Police Department, Smith said, “That will be addressed by a new chief when they come in. I’m doing this and we’ll bring in a new chief who will assess what we need to do then, if anything.”

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Comments

  1. Norberto Rivera says:

    Seriously???? Is this a joke????? You’re just going to let go 3 men with over 90 years of combined police experience and tell them they are elegible for a patrolman position???? Are you kidding me????? Are they also elegible to apply for that new chief of police position? I called Griffin home for many years and I shed blood, sweat and tears on those streets. I’ll be the first to admit the department has its issues, just like any other agency. Griffin’s major problems are not at the police department though. Why don’t you start by looking at that big, fancy building you have downtown? No way that a city of 25,000 needs a city hall so pretentious and completely unnecessary. People need to be asking what is the agenda for some of the “elite” few sitting inside that big, fancy building.

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