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Outgoing chief opposes DCP/DSO consolidation

ALBANY — Retiring Dougherty County Police Chief Don Cheek made a pitch Monday for keeping the department intact despite increasing calls to merge it with the sheriff’s office.

Speaking to members of the Dougherty County Commission’s finance committee, Cheek said the loss of the county’s police department would be significant to residents in the unincorporated area of the county.

“It’s been said that I have spoken out in favor of a merger with the sheriff’s office,” Cheek, who celebrated 41 years in law enforcement Monday, said. “That’s not true. I’ve said that, with my retirement, I expect it to come up. But based on my years of service, I don’t think any such merger is a good idea.

“I don’t see that there is a savings; it would simply be a shifting of the resources. The citizens of the county’s unincorporated area pay for the services we provide, and they deserve to have that service.”

Cheek pointed out differences in the Dougherty Sheriff’s Office and DCP, noting that each provides unique services.

“I know the rumor mill is in hyperdrive right now about the sheriff’s office taking over our operations, and I know the last several grand juries have recommended considering the feasibility of a merger of the departments,” Cheek said. “But I feel both agencies have their own unique place and function.”

Cheek provided statistics that he said validate the work of his 49-member staff. Among those he emphasized were 927,054 patrol miles during calendar year 2011, 1,324 arrests, 24,389 dispatched calls, 455 accidents investigated and 377 domestic violence calls.

“If you think you can find waste in our staffing, I’d be glad to have you come by and get a taste of what they do,” the outgoing chief said. “We don’t just work our folks. In truth, we overwork them.”

Cheek discussed a couple of seemingly simple — but what he said were ineffective — solutions to one of his department’s primary budget costs: fuel consumption.

“We can park our cars and be totally reactive,” he said. “Or, looking back to the talk that sprung up in 2002 about cutting 19 positions to save money, it was suggested that we could reduce our (patrol) miles by 40 percent. But I don’t think that’s the message we want to send to the community.”

Cheek said citizens in unincorporated Dougherty County have come to expect a certain level of service from the police department.

“If you look at bang for the buck, I’ll match our efficiencies with anybody’s,” he said. “We’re doing way more with way less.”

Comments

MRKIA 1 year, 6 months ago

OKAY, FINAL CHOICE. EITHER THE DCSD MERGES WITH DCP OR THE DCP MERGES WITH THE DCSD. TWO STAND ALONE AGENCIES? FUGGEDABOUTIT!!!

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MRKIA 1 year, 6 months ago

OOPS, THERE IS ONE OTHER OPTION: LET CHEEK AND HIS POLICE FAMILY FUND THE DCP WITH THEIR MONEY.

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cwadstep 1 year, 6 months ago

Either way the Gov.is still going to take your money regardless to who runs what department. MRKIA you should actually think about what you say before you say it because some things really make people look stupid.

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MRKIA 1 year, 6 months ago

YOU MUST WORK FOR DCP. AND YES I THOUGHT ABOUT IT AND CAME TO THE CONCLUSION THAT 3 POLICE DEPARTMENTS IN THIS HICK TOWN IS UNNECESSARY. COUNTIES ALL OVER THE NATION WORK WITH A P.D. AND A SHERIFF. NOTHING YOU SAID IN YOUR COMMENT ADDRESSES THE TOPIC, GET BACK TO ME WHEN YOU HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY WORTH READING.

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FryarTuk 1 year, 6 months ago

Good luck, Chief, on your battle with leukemia and I hope you find joy in retirement. Thanks to the extreme taxes, I am spending my retirement working to keep my property.

Now as a taxpayer I could care less whether DCP survives as a separate structure. It is okay with me to turn all the enforcement over to DCP and let the DCS be responsible for the jail, the Court and civil administration. Combine the DCP, APD and DCSS police. We have the strangest mixture in this community with multiple churches, multiple police agencies and incredible crime. If we could actually calculate how much we spend on police departments and possibly just divide it up and give it to the criminals to leave town we would save a lot of money. (That is tongue in cheek or foot in mouth which ever you prefer.) Our property taxes are confiscatory and every government agency including the police spend money like there is no tomorrow. If rational heads do not prevail the demographics of our community and hence the quality of life will continue to deteriorate.

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MRKIA 1 year, 6 months ago

YOU FORGOT THE ASU POLICE. I'LL BE DAMNED, THERES THE APD,DCSS, DCP, ASUPD,DCSD. WHAT A COLOSSAL WASTE OF RESOURCES. NEXT WE'LL HAVE THE PUTNEY PD, EAST ALBANY PD, THE DARTON COLLEGE PD, DOUBLEGATE PD, ALBANY TECH PD. PHOEBE PUTNEY PD.,P&G PD.....

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waltspecht 1 year, 6 months ago

It makes no monetary sense that three departments can exist as cheaply as one. Everyone is trying to protect their own nest, and not worrying that it will drag down all of them. Just consolidating administrativve costs would be substantial, nevermind maintenance, janitorial and utilities. Any business person can see this. So why can't the Politicians which are supposed to be looking out for all the Citizens, not just those they owe favors to.

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MRKIA 1 year, 6 months ago

RIGHT ON WALT. CWADSTEP ARE YOU THERE?

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Cartman 1 year, 6 months ago

The idea of merging duplicative police departments is not a criticism of either department. It is purely a fiscal decision.

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