North Augustans love their Public Safety Department.
There wasn’t one negative comment Monday night during a public hearing on the department and how it does its job.
“We couldn’t ask for better partner,” said Walker Posey.
Posey Funeral Services needs lots of help with traffic during funerals and they get it, he said during the hearing, held as part of the department’s effort to gain advanced accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies.
Several speakers had recently completed the city’s Citizens Academy, a 10-week, hands-on learning experience with NADPS, and praised it and the officers.
Mark Lobe called it “a phenomenal, eye-opening experience.”
“It wasn’t like they just wanted to check the box. The dedication really came through,” he said. “It makes you feel glad to be a citizen of North Augusta.”
Richard Fletcher recalled a role-playing exercise where participants were the police and two officers were “brothers having an argument.” Fletcher wasn’t told that one of the brothers had a gun.
“I was supposed to see it but I didn’t. One pulled a gun and shot the other and I shot both of them,” he said.
His story drew laughs but he was serious when he said, “It brought home to me more than anything I could ever imagine what it’s like to be a police officer.”
City Administrator Todd Glover said the city is known for its recreation amenities and public safety, and that he believes its growth is at least partly attributable to “people knowing they can move here and be safe.”
He offered himself as an example.
“I was hired in 2012 but I moved my family here in 2002, because of the city’s reputation for keeping people safe,” he said. “My experience here has strengthened my belief that they’re top notch public servants.”
Connie Boswell said she hoped accreditation would mean a pay raise for the officers.
“I’m appalled at the rate of pay they’re expected to start out at, and they put their lives in jeopardy,” she said. “I certainly hope that could be looked at.”
Joy Murdock told about the time her husband fell while trying to get into his car in front of their house. Two officers happened to be riding past, saw what happened, turned around and helped her take care of him.
Susan Baskins praised the department for helping control speeders in her neighborhood.
“I live on Bolin Road — Bolin Speedway,” she said “They take care of us over there.”
Reach James Folker at (706) 823-3338 or firstname.lastname@example.org.