Chief seeks fresh image for department
by Clay Neely
Javier Garcia is on a mission to restore credibility to the Grantville Police Department.
The recently appointed police chief spoke to the city council Monday to address the progress of the department since assuming his duties and to also provide a blueprint on how he plans on making changes.
“Currently, the morale of our officers is very high – above average,” Garcia said. “Our officers take pride in their service to the citizens and the city. However, the rebuilding of trust between the public and our department has been one of our highest priorities.”
For Garcia, morale is a two-way street. Since records for Georgia posts were implemented in the late 1970s, Grantville has employed more than 189 officers.
“That’s an extremely high turnover rate,” Garcia said. “You don’t want a city to have that. The staff you have now is top-notch and do the best for the city. We want to ensure that we keep them on staff for as long as possible.”
In his attempt to revamp the public image of the police department, Garcia will now conduct random drug testing and evaluations for the entire department on a quarterly basis. All reports will be added to their personnel file.
All Grantville police officers will also now be required to wear body cameras. The newly launched GrantvillePD.com website has also been a success, obtaining 1,100 hits in the past three weeks.
“The website features a citizen survey that can be filled out by any visitor and will allow the police department to better know how they are serving the community,” Garcia said. “This website will allow a faster flow of information between the citizens and the department.”
The revamp of the police department also includes reaching out to the community on a consistent basis. Garcia is aiming to have a uniformed police officer visit Glanton Elementary School on a regular basis and to read to a class at least once a week.
“We don’t always want to be the bad guys,” Garcia said.
“My goal as chief of police is to stabilize the department as a whole, as well as building a better relationship between our police department, city council, and our community,” Garcia said. “I believe if we take a fresh approach to our force, we can have one of the best departments in the state.”