Henry County city wants to create its own police department but not everyone is on board

HENRY COUNTY, Ga. — A metro Atlanta city says crime is such a concern that it’s starting its own police department. Some support a new force, but others says not right now.

Stockbridge Mayor Pro Tem Elton Alexander told Channel 2′s Tom Jones the city is in the planning stages of creating its own police department.

“We’re gonna have 4,000 plus citizens and tourists right here in this community,” Alexander said.

The city has allocated $3 million for start up costs and to hire a police chief. Alexander said crime is on the increase and it doesn’t make sense for the city to no longer have its own force.

“We’re the largest city in Henry County and we’re the only city that does not have a police force,” he said.

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However, not everyone is on board. Councilman John Blount said now is not the time to start a police department because of the pandemic and other projects the city has to pay for.

“There’s a way of getting a police department and this is not the way to do it,” Blount said.

The city is paying for a new amphitheater and considering a proposed cultural arts center along with other projects.

“How are we gonna pay for all this in the midst of a pandemic. In the midst of all that’s going on. In the midst of hardship with citizens,” Blount said.

A financial report indicated the city’s budget will almost double by 2024 with the new police department, according to Blount.

Alexander said the city has a $17 million reserve and if there’s a tax increase, it would be minimal. He told Jones the budget would be OK.

The city will first hire a police chief, who would put together the police department.

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