Dawsonville police

Dawsonville City Manager Bob Bolz presented “food for thought” to the City Council regarding
the city’s increased need for policing during the Oct. 23 work session. PHOTO BY DENISE RAY

Council encouraged to consider city police force

‘The criminal element is growing’

By Denise Ray This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The Dawsonville City Council heard a recommendation for a police department from City Manager Bob Bolz during its Oct. 23 work session.

Bolz’s presentation—which he referred to as “food for thought”—included a list of crimes committed within city limits over the past years including crimes against minors, vandalism, possession of controlled substances, break-ins, and the homicide of Erin Jones in July 2015.

“As our community continues to grow, crime is not going away,” the city employee said. “The criminal element is growing.”

Bolz also included comments from the Sheriff’s Office which included “hey, we’re understaffed” and “we don’t have enough people to take care of the county”.

City growth, like that of Dawson County is growing “by leaps and bounds” according to Bolz.

“Good law enforcement should not be responsive, it should be proactive,” Bolz said.

Bolz, a city employee since Nov. 2016, recommended a new full time position be created with a salary of $57,000 plus benefits. Additional costs could include a vehicle (estimated at $30,000), $6,000 for equipment, inmate housing at the jail ($2,500), a city judge ($5,000) and part-time officers.

Funding could come from a variety of sources including SPLOST and LOST, grants, revenue from citations and tickets according to the former sheriff’s office employee.

Support for Bolz’ recommendation came from former Dawson County Sheriff Billy Carlisle who said that the presence of an officer would serve as a deterrent.

Currently the city lies within one of the five zones established by the sheriff’s office. Each zone is manned by one officer.

“I don’t want to speak for the sheriff’s office,” Carlisle said. “I’m speaking from what I was doing back in years past. It was very difficult for us to provide law enforcement to the city with the manpower that we had. You can only do so much with how much money you’ve got.”

Carlisle indicated that a memorandum of understanding outlining shared services would be essential and it should include the county, the courts, and the sheriff’s office.

Council member Mike Sosebee was skeptical about the city finding and keeping a qualified officer due to the proposed salary.

“One officer won’t do much for downtown Dawsonville,” he said.

The salary proposed by Bolz, according to Carlisle, is more in line with what command staff or supervisors make.

No timeline for the future of the recommendation has been indicated.

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