Chamblee’s police department is ready to expand by 23 sworn officers if neighborhoods south of the city vote to be annexed, Chamblee police Chief Marc Johnson told residents of the area on Oct. 25.

“We will be prepared to take over policing in the area” on the day the annexation occurs, Johnson told about 90 residents who attended a meeting to discuss the proposed Chamblee expansion.

Johnson said the city had decided to add 29 employees to its police department, including the 23 sworn officers, if the annexation is approved. He said the department has been recruiting officers so they would be ready to start work with Chamblee on Dec. 30, when the annexation would officially take place.

Johnson, Chamblee Mayor Eric Clarkson, Chamblee City Manager Niles F

ord and city Finance Director Travis Sims met with residents to answer questions during a gathering at Clairmont Baptist Church.

In September, DeKalb County officials answered questions from residents in a similar meeting.

Ford said that if the annexation is approved, the city’s population would rise to about 26,801, up from 15,491. The area of the city would increase to 7.85 square miles, compared to 4.81 square miles now.

The Chamblee annexation vote on Nov. 6 was approved by the state Legislature after some residents of the area questioned the effect on their neighborhoods of the creation of a city of Brookhaven nearby. Some residents worried they would be trapped in a small area of unincorporated DeKalb County that would be cut off by the two cities.

Brookhaven voters approved that city July 31 and will cast ballots Nov. 6 for the first Brookhaven City Council and mayor.

Jordan Fox, who lives in the Dresden East area, said he opposed including portions of the area in the city of Brookhaven, but supports the Chamblee annexation.

“I’m all for it, 100 percent,” he said. “I just think we’re going to receive a much higher level of service from the city than we get from DeKalb County. … This is good for us.”

But Steve Starnes, who lives in the Beverly Hills area, opposes the annexation. “I don’t want to put another layer of government in that can raise my taxes,” he said.

Chamblee Police Chief Marc Johnson talks to the crowd gathered at Clairmont Baptist Church to discuss a proposed annexation. Voters in neighborhoods south of Chamblee are to decide Nov. 6 whether to be annexed into the city.

Joe Earle

Joe Earle is Editor-at-Large. He has more than 30-years of experience with daily newspapers, including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.