Athens Police Department hopes to add more officers to the force
“This is a great job. If you have the right attitude and believe in people and do it for the right reasons, this is a great job,” said Athens Police Chief.
ATHENS, Ala. (WAFF) - Athens City Council members plan to take advantage of a federal grant that would cover 75 percent of the costs associated with a new police officer’s salary and benefits. They want to expand the Athens Police Department with seven new officers.
But, Police Chief Floyd Johnson is still trying to fill eight existing open positions for his staff of 52.
“We’ve already cut services where I feel like is to the maximum. So, you know as the city continues to grow, we’re either gonna have to cut back on some other things or we’re gonna have to put some new resources out for them to be able to handle that,” said Johnson.
Johnson says just last week, a resident called to say she waited an hour for police to show up at her home.
“Admittedly, the call wasn’t a high priority call but when I went back and looked at it, every car we had was tied up,” said Johnson.
Johnson believes competing with other career options paired with the national controversy with law enforcement is driving interest down. He says the job can be demanding, yet rewarding.
“This is a great job. If you have the right attitude and believe in people and do it for the right reasons, this is a great job,” said Johnson.
An answer to the city’s federal application requesting the expansion in officer positions should be expected by late summer or early fall. The city is also trying to incentivize recruits. All Athens police officers recently received a $6,000 raise.
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