Tomlinson Comments on Martin's public safety plan - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Tomlinson Comments on Martin's public safety plan

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COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -

Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson is responding to her opponent for the 2014 mayoral campaign Colin Martin's public safety plan which he announced in a press conference earlier today, March 6.

Read Colin Martin's full Public Safety Speech here.

In a statement to News Leader 9, Tomlinson says the following: 

Let me say first that there is a close and highly effective relationship

between my office and the Chief Law Enforcement Agency of this jurisdiction

and that is the Columbus Police Department.  We communicate daily.  So,

too, there is an excellent and productive relationship between this office

and the Warden, with whom I've had the privilege of rebuilding a previously

dysfunctional prison into a safe and professional facility, and the Fire

Chief with whom I have likewise worked with closely to great effect through

challenging issues.  These are my direct reports and those relationships

could not be better.  The recent issues relating to the Sheriff's budget

overruns and the investigation of the Marshal's unsupported allegations of

racial slurs against the Police Chief has created fodder in this political

season, but we continue to meet regularly, indeed, I've met with and

otherwise communicated with the Sheriff on numerous occasions this week

alone.  I suspect once the political and budget seasons are over much of

the current discussion with those two independent elected officers will be

a distant memory.

 

I have personally walked some of our most challenged neighborhoods in our

city to include Plateau Drive, Decatur Court, The Hole on Wade Street,

Terminal Court and the backside of East Highlands, and more, not once, not

twice, but many times. I have been there with law enforcement officers and

I have been there with neighborhood leaders.  I have been there not just as

Mayor, not just as Director of MidTown, Inc., but even before that as an

active, concerned citizen that cares very much about the state of our

neighborhoods and communities that make up this city.  As Public Safety

Director, I've strengthened Community Policing through the Department of

Justice's Community Oriented Policing (COPs) Assessment process and by

facilitating Neighborhood Associations throughout the city to great effect

using our Crime Prevention Director, Seth Brown, together with our CPD

Neighborhood Watch Program.  One only has to see the dramatic decrease in

crime in Bibb Village to see the positive effect of this program.

Probably, the most effective Community Policing effort we have instituted

is that of eliminating blight.  In the elimination of The Hole on Wade

Street we cut crime in that Zone by 40%.  That's a serious, positive

impact.  We have seen the same type results from our efforts on Decatur

Court, with the action against the owners of crime havens and the

simultaneous opening of the Boxwood Recreation Center down the street.

Juvenile crime in that area has dropped dramatically.  Obviously, I could

go on, but we can cite to a specific action plan of Community Policing with

proven results.

 

Also, Chief Boren and I are currently working on a plan to restructure our

patrol units into three Zones with a Captain heading each Zone.  This will

enhance our Community Policing efforts by narrowing the focus of those

units and their Command to those Zones.  We hope to launch this new

structure when we bring the $2 million Intelligence Based Policing software

on-line next fiscal year.  Now, that's a plan.

 

We have recently conducted a salary package comparison with similar

communities and Columbus fares very favorably, coming in second to Cobb

County among the cities surveyed.  With the advent of new cities in Georgia

and Florida, many communities like Columbus are having some of our officers

cherry-picked.  Because we recruit the best, and train the best, we are a

desirable target for those looking to recruit.  We continually look to ways

we can increase our ranks, like with our new marketing push to Join the

Force for Good.

 

As to the idea to redirect first time offenders, we already have successful

crime prevention programs that address that type of effort through our

Office of Crime Prevention.  These programs are funded by the 2008 OLOST

funds through our Crime Preventions Grant process.

RELATED: Mayoral candidate reveals public safety plan for Columbus 

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