ALBANY — Ward V Albany City Commission incumbent Bob Langstaff became the fourth candidate to qualify for the Nov. 5 municipal election Wednesday.
Langstaff told The Herald last week there is “unfinished business” he wants to address if he is returned to office for a fourth term by Ward V voters.
“I haven’t heard if (possible opponent) Lane (Rosen) still plans to qualify, so I’m just taking a wait-and-see approach right now,” Langstaff said after finishing qualifying requirements. “My campaign, obviously, will depend on whether I have opposition, but I’m still looking forward to hearing from the constituents in Ward V about their concerns.”
Langstaff, an Albany attorney who is currently serving his 12th year on the commission, waved off any talk about personal accomplishments.
“Anything we’ve managed to accomplish (during my tenure) is a team effort,” he said. “I guess the one thing I’m most proud of — and it’s a continuous, ongoing thing — is that we’ve made the public safety arena our No. 1 priority. When you think about why cities develop in the first place, why groups of people settle in such close proximity, public safety is such a basic issue.”
Langstaff enumerated a number of areas in which the city had made significant public safety upgrades, including:
— Increasing salaries, especially those of police officers. “Instead of losing recruits now (to other law enforcement agencies), we’re attracting those recruits,” he said. “Being a police officer in Albany, Georgia, is not an easy job, and increasing pay allows us to entice quality officers to come here.”
— Creating a “pension plan within our pension plan” that allows police officers to retire earlier than most city employees. “They contribute a little more into their pension plan, but this allows them to retire sooner. You can only chase bad guys fro so long.”
— Putting “a ton of money” into public safety technology. “Officers we’re recruiting now are trained on new software and portable laptops. Entering the data one time keeps them on the streets and helps them do their job more efficiently.”
— Upgrading 911 consoles. “That may not be a sexy topic to the general public, but it’s somethign we have to do.”
— Building the Albany Fire Department’s training center. “That’s a huge asset. We don’t have to send our firefighters away to get critical training.”
— Providing for APD to achieve national accreditation. “That lets the public know our police force is using best practices to the level of national standards.”
Langstaff joins fellow incumbent Ivey Hines of Ward II as an official candidate with his qualifying now completed. Others who have qualified include Dougherty County School System bus driver Cheryl Calhoun in Ward III and Albany State University Marketing Director Demetrius Love in Ward II.
Qualifying will continue today from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.