Ask the Mayor

Published 11:21 am Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Mayor Reynolds,

Chief {Larry} Funderburke is saying that the way the Public Safety Department is currently functioning is not working anymore. Why are the Mayor and City Council insisting to keep things “as is?”

The Mayor and City Council spent a lot of time discussing the Public Safety model at their retreat on Saturday, March 19, after the department heads left. Through that discussion, we determined to remain committed to the Public Safety model.

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The Public Safety model is a huge cost saving to our taxpayers. Studies show that it would take a minimum of $1.5 million per year to split the police and fire departments. That equals to three additional mills of property tax for each person in the City.

Secondly, the Public Safety model allows for more officers to be on patrol at any given time. This helps Bainbridge keep the public safe. While Bainbridge has a higher than desired incident of property crimes (larceny, theft, etc.), our violent crime rate is very low compared to other Georgia cities.

Finally, the Public Safety model increases efficiency and productivity among our employees. With a majority of officers assigned to patrol, there is less down time with no need for officers to work overnight shifts.

Furthermore, the average response time of Public Safety is a little more than one minute, far below the nation’s average response time. Because of our short response time, the City’s insurance rating is very low, which in turn, saves all of our citizens on their insurance premiums.

It is true that some cities in Georgia and the nation have abandoned the Public Safety model, but others have adopted it. The City of Social Circle is one example. In fact, they used Bainbridge as their model in implementing the Public Safety concept. We feel the Public Safety model is a good fit for the City of Bainbridge and the City Council has reaffirmed their commitment to Public Safety.


Mayor Reynolds