Rebuilding Georgiana’s Police Department
It has been a year of change for Georgiana Police Chief Carlton Cook.
“When I came here we had a force that had pretty much walked out, including the police chief and we were down to like three officers,” says Cook.
Cook leads a force of six officers now and he is still hoping to grow. He says a decreasing police force for a small city created a big challenge.
“It was a huge impact.
But with the support of others, Cook says that challenge is a thing of the past.
“We were supported by the butler county sheriff’s department. They did a great job in supporting our city as far as keeping it sustained,” says Cook.
The first step he says in restoring the community’s trust, listening to the community on issues.
“Some of it was poverty-living in a low poverty community-no jobs and after I started doing that I started finding out the needs or what I could to reach out to some of the outreach sources and start using those resources to our max,” says Cook.
Some of those resources involves Butler County Schools.
“I appreciate what the chief is doing trying proactively work with the students in a positive way so that they see the police force in a positive manner-not there to catch them when they do something wrong but to be there for them to support them,” says John Stricker, Butler County Schools Superintendent.
“We started a mentoring program that he has here. I allowed Chief Cooke to come in the school and have his own classroom so he could pull come of the kids in and mentor them,” says Curtis Moorer, Principal of Georgiana School.
Leaders and volunteers are working with the department, to provide a center for the youth and a new police station that can also be used for community meetings.
“This is a great location. I would consider this to be a good location in neutral area we can respond to calls in a consistent time,” says Jeremy Peagler of the Georgiana Police Department.
“Just having a strong police force in a community does help,” says Stricker.
Supporters say, it is something that is long overdue.
Chief Cook hopes to add at least two more officers to the Georgiana Police Department soon.