Council Holds Off on Crime Prevention Director -, GA News Weather & Sports

Council Holds Off on Crime Prevention Director

COLUMBUS, GA (WXTX) -  Columbus council members faced off Tuesday voicing concerns of their constituents on an ordinance that would authorize creation of a new Crime Prevention Director role in the city.

Some council members say the position should get the green light since it's part of what taxpayers were promised when they approved the local option sales tax.

"The reason I'm cautioning this council is because we don't want to have any undue delay in implementing this position so that we can go about attacking this problem of crime on the front end," said Jerry "Pops" Barnes, District 1.

"If we're going to bring government out into this, I think we just do it carefully and thoughtfully because once we go down these roads of creating these positions, it's very very difficult to go back. Are there reasonable, cost effective things that we can do with perhaps personnel we already have in place," asked Mike Baker, District 5.

Frank Myers, Chairman of the Mayor's Commission on Crime Prevention doesn't think so.

"I don't think this is something where you can just put this money out into the departments and say we're going to prevent crime somehow. We've tried that. There are crime prevention measures in place right now in the city government and clearly, they're not working," he said.

"This position will be reportable to the mayor. You have to have somebody who is going to report to the mayor and be accountable to the taxpayers as to where this money is going and whether or not it's being used effectively," Myers added.

The Mayor says he is willing to wait until all of the council members have their input on the role.

"I want to listen to what you have to say and I want to try to incorporate that into this ordinance. I think this is a great piece of legislation if we can get it through. We need 10 council members to support this. It doesn't need to be divided. It's too important for half the council to vote for it and half to vote against it. Let's wait until we can get it right," Mayor Jim Wetherington said.

As to when council will look at the position again, that's still up in the air.

But when it does make it's way back to the table for discussion, it will be on a first reading so a vote will not be taken.

A public hearing will also be held at that time.

The mayor's Commission on Crime Prevention- made up of community members- has put together recommendations on what the city needs to do to combat crime and how the office of the Crime Prevention Director plays into that.

Click here, to see their final report.

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