STOCKBRIDGE, Ga. (CBS46) – More than 40 years after its police department was disbanded, the City of Stockbridge is preparing to welcome a new team of officers.
The new police headquarters, located at the former Henry County Police Department – North Precinct on Henry Blvd, might still be under construction but Stockbridge Police Chief Frank Trammer said his team is ready to protect and serve. Starting July 1 at midnight, SPD will take over policing duties, from Henry County PD, in the city of nearly 30,000.
“There’s not really a playbook for starting a police department,” Trammer said. “However, when you implement a new police department, there has to be a purpose. There has to be a need. And I think that need is there with the increasing population within the city. ”
The last time Stockbridge had its own police department, it was 1978. The city council disbanded the agency over poor practices, according to Trammer. The Henry County Sheriff’s Office took over shortly after. Henry County PD has been policing in the city since the 1990s.
“I believe policing is not something you do to your community,” Trammer said. “Policing is something we do in partnership with our community. If we truly want to be effective, it requires a whole community approach. ”
Unlike other departments across metro Atlanta, Trammer said recruitment has been successful. He said the department received more than 1100 applications. They have a full staff of 62 people, 56 of whom are officers.
“I think that the key really is not paying benefits, the key is the culture, the environment,” Trammer said.
Trammer, who has 22 years of experience and was part of the launch of the Sandy Springs Police Department, said he wants to create a culture where officers feel empowered, inspired and are community focused.
“We want officers that don’t have to be told what to do, that understand and recognize problems in the community, and they take the initiative to respond to those things,” he added.
Olga Dockery, a Stockbridge resident of 18 years, is hopeful a hometown department means quicker response times.
“Wait times can be anywhere from 10-20 minutes and with them being so close within Stockbridge, I would see the response times maybe being cut in half,” she said.
“I feel safe when I see the police around,” added Jennifer Morris, who has lived in Stockbridge for nine years. “I feel real safe. I feel protected. Feel like I have someone who has my back. ”
Trammer said he understands trust is the foundation of any relationship and he believes he has a team the community will be proud of.
“Henry County has done a fantastic job providing police service to the city but having our own police department will allow us to tailor services to our community,” Trammer said.
A portion of the new police department will be up and running when SPD launches on July 1. However, much of the department will utilize other city buildings until the building is completed in September. There will be a change of command ceremony Thursday, June 30 at 10 pm at Stockbridge City Hall.
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