COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) — Tuesday is a much anticipated day for Columbus Council and Police Chief Freddie Blackmon.
An operational assessment of the Police Department was presented to the council last month. The outside study by consulting firm Jensen Hughes found leadership and transparency issues within the department.
The department is also having trouble recruiting and retaining officers.
Blackmon is scheduled to present a strategic plan to deal with those issues. Blackmon’s plan is intended to guide the department’s decision-making over the next three years.
And it deals with personnel, operations, training, and community engagement.
The plan is available on the city’s website, and attached to Tuesday’s agenda.
Blackmon has been chief for more than two years and has come under fire from the Fraternal Order of Police and some inside the department.
A month ago, several Columbus councilors also expressed disappointment with Blackmon and the department’s direction in the midst of a surge in violent crime.
Currently, the department has 145 vacancies and 299 sworn officers. The plan calls for additional sworn officers and civilian employees.
The plan that Blackmon is putting forward is dependent on significant funding and support from Columbus Council.
Here’s what he plans to propose:
It calls on increasing a supplement for sworn officers from $5,100 dollars a year to more than $10,000 dollars.
Add a $5,100-dollar supplement from civilian 9-1-1- center employees. And also add those employees to the city pension plan.
Increase Retirement benefits for Sworn Officers. Full retirement – 80 percent of an employee’s salary — would come at 30 Years of Service.
Mayor Skip Henderson, Blackmon and the city councilors contacted by WRBL said they wanted to wait until after the chief’s presentation to make a public statement.
The plan we just outlined has been on the city’s website all weekend.