New Glynn County Police Chief John Powell has been hard at work since he took the job permanently in January. The job is not a small one, and the effort police put out every day to keep our community safe should be appreciated by all.
Since taking over as the interim chief last September, he has overseen response to a hurricane and created a new Street Crimes unit to combat the gangs and violent crimes that were on the rise in 2017, according to recently released county crime statistics.
The unit was a smart move, and a necessary one to counter the criminals who never cease. But the most important aspect of the unit, as with other task forces and special units in our police community, is that it combines the efforts of all three local police agencies.
He explained why last week to The News.
“We’re trying to do away with the boundaries (between agencies) because the criminals do not recognize the boundaries,” he said. “Law enforcement should not recognize those boundaries either, and that includes sharing information and resources and joining together to address the common crime issues that affect our shared communities.”
Although we know he was not advocating for consolidation of police forces, his statement makes a good argument for why it makes sense.
Criminals don’t stop at the city limit, and they certainly don’t care which agency is arresting them.
There are only two municipalities in Glynn County — the county and the city of Brunswick — but we have three local law enforcement agencies.
We have argued before that consolidation of police forces makes sense because it would likely save money in administrative overhead for all involved. It would also make it easier for officers to address community-wide crime issues with a unified front.
It would also make it easier to carry full staffs. Police departments locally seem to poach from one another often, with the lowest paying force in Brunswick often on the short end of the deal. The city has had a tough time keeping officers because they leave for either the county, sheriff’s office or other agencies. With a consolidated police force for the county and the city, this issue would be alleviated.
It is a thought worth exploring.