Dunwoody’s police force could grow by more than 10 percent in 2013 if City Council agrees to fund requests by Chief Billy Grogan to add four officers, a detective and a civilian employee.
At least four new officers are likely to be added in 2013. Grogan requested the officers in order to form a Crime Response Team.
Dunwoody’s crime comparison numbers for September show property crimes, including larceny, burglary and car thefts, were up by 20 percent from last year, according to the city website. The number of violent crimes in the city was down for the same period, the report said.
The proposed staff increases were a prominent point of discussion at an Oct. 15 special meeting of the Dunwoody City Council called, in part, to discuss the 2013 budget.
Council members appeared ready to agree to add the officers, estimated to cost about $280,000. The council is scheduled to vote on the budget Oct. 29.
According to Grogan, the four officers will focus on areas where crime spikes occur while also providing additional traffic enforcement on Dunwoody’s streets.
The council is considering a pay increase of four percent for city employees, made up mostly of police officers and court staff. Mayor Mike Davis told council members that the raise will help to ensure that Dunwoody retains its police officers in the face of competition from a new city of Brookhaven.
“As the new city of Brookhaven looks north to fill its police force, I don’t think there’s a better time to show our commitment,” Davis said.
As the council gets closer to a vote on the 2013 budget, it will have to decide whether other proposed public safety expenses are warranted. In addition to the four-officer Crime Response Team, Grogan has asked for a civilian staff member to transport prisoners between Dunwoody and the DeKalb County Jail and schedule maintenance for city vehicles.
Grogan is also asking for an additional officer to work in tandem with the DEA combating illicit pain management clinics or “pill mills.”
Councilman Denis Shortal told the council he was skeptical about adding a full-time position to the force to shuttle prisoners between Dunwoody and Decatur after agreeing to include funding for four new officers. Councilman Terry Nall said any measure to keep police on the streets would be worth the cost.
Dunwoody police are asking for a detective who would work with the federal officials on a tactical squad targeting pain management clinics that serve as fronts for illicit prescription drug operations.
Grogan said such clinics have been a cause of increasing concern for Dunwoody and DeKalb police and the DEA over the past few years. He told the council that, although Dunwoody police have assisted the DEA in the past, they have not been eligible for overtime reimbursement relating to work with the federal agency, nor have they received a share of the funds seized from prescription drug peddlers.
Grogan told council members the need for the position come to his attention recently. “The DEA approached me on four different occasions since our budget was submitted, in desperate need of someone,” he said.