Clarkston city council punts on police staffing, pay issues
CLARKSTON, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - UPDATE: A motion to discuss raising Clarkston police officer pay failed to pass a motion Tuesday night.
Clarkston City Councilman Jamie Carroll said before the meeting that he was hopeful a discussion could be had about staffing problems after the Council became aware of the drastic police shortage.
Numerous officers and Clarkston residents spoke during the public forum portion of the meeting. One officer said the shortage is so dire that there’s often just one officer and one sergeant on duty at any given time.
Some police officers in Clarkston are leaving and going where the money is.
Council member Jamie Carroll plans to put recruitment and retention on the June 6, 2023, council meeting agenda.
Police Chief Christine Hudson said the city continues to grow and sits at about 14,000 people. The police department is fully staffed at 21, but the chief said she only has 15 right now, and that could go down by six more people in the coming months.
That would bring the number to just nine officers. Hudson said she is losing officers to larger agencies that pay more.
For comparison, the DeKalb County Police Department starts at $55,000. Clarkston starts its officers at $46,344 per year.
“There’s inflation, the rents are going up, starting home prices are going up. A lot of these officers do have families to provide for, a lot have worked for Clarkston for a number of years,” said Jamie Carroll, Clarkston City Council.
Carroll said he wants to raise the pay and include a significant bonus to recruit officers. But he also wants to take care of the officers who stick with the force.
“I would also like to offer a retention bonus where we retain current officers, we can discuss it if they are on the force a period of time from now,” he said.
Carroll hopes to bring the pay up to $55,000.
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