By Michaela Kron

Dist. 1 DeKalb County Commissioner Elaine Boyer expressed concerns about deficiencies at the DeKalb Police Department at a recent meeting with north Brookhaven neighborhood representatives and proposed a separate tax may be needed to support Police Department improvements.

At an Aug. 20 meeting with members of Ashford Alliance Community Association, Boyer said the department is in “seriously bad shape” in regard to the conditions of its training and shooting range facilities. To help remedy the issues, she would support a separate millage for the police department, as the county has for the fire department.

Dist. 2 Commissioner Jeff Rader told the Brookhaven Reporter, “I find it difficult to vote for general millage increases.” However, he added, “People want and are willing to pay for essential services … They will pay added millage for specific programs. If we levy a tax, they want to know, and I want to know, it is for specific programs.”

Another issue affecting the police department is insufficient continuous situation training for officers, as well as the low ratio of officers to citizens, Boyer said.

“We’re an urban county, so we’ve got to have police that can function,” Boyer said.

At the meeting, Boyer summed up her values as a county commissioner, stating, “My philosophy is that public works and public safety should be the two things that we do best. The other things may have to wait.”

Rader said public safety could be an area “that we want a dedicated funding source.” However, he indicated there also are other important areas and to him, “the greatest need is the public libraries.”

He said library facilities need to be improved, be better stocked with materials and be open throughout the week, not just for a few days each week and with limited hours.

–John Schaffner contributed to this report.