ALBANY, Ga. -- As he nears his one-year anniversary on the job, Albany Police Chief John Proctor says that in addition to fighting crime he also wants to do a little polishing to the force's perception within the community.
"I now claim Albany as my home, and that is important to me," Proctor said Thursday addressing the Albany Rotary Club at Doublegate Country Club. "I want to work on how our organization is viewed within the community. And we are setting some goals for our people.
"Sometimes change is hard and it doesn't happen overnight ... it takes some time to change the course."
Under former police chief James Younger, the APD was often taken to task for being unresponsive and uncommunicative.
Proctor vowed to change that perception.
"We are correcting some operational issues," Proctor said. "We will be responsive and investigate crime. If we have to change supervisors to get everybody in line, we will.
"We must address the issue of bringing credibility back to the Albany Police Department. And I pledge to you we will work on this every day."
Proctor added that he wanted diversity in the department that goes well beyond black or white.
"I want us to have a well-trained police department," Proctor said. "We want officers and leadership who are well educated. But we also want and need folks who understand and have life experiences.
"We want people who are genuinely willing to serve."
The chief went on to say that he has other goals to increase the department's professionalism.
"I want us to gain state accreditation, then I want national accreditation," Proctor said. "Our ultimate goal is to have a world-class police department. I cannot, and will not, accept mediocrity."
Proctor then addressed the city's gang problem, saying the department is making some progress.
"Last year we ID'd 42 gangs in Albany," Proctor said. "Fourteen are very active and four to five are the real troublemakers. We arrested more than 300 last year and more than 100 so far this year.
"We recognize gangs are a problem. We will deal with them and move forward, and we need citizens to get involved."