Stockbridge to draft contract with private police firm

Source: Asia Ashley, Henry Herald, April 12, 2016

Stockbridge city officials have given the OK to the city manager to proceed with drafting a contract with a private police services company. During Monday’s City Council meeting, City Manager Michael Harris said the city’s public safety committee interviewed six to seven private security firms to provide protection within the city limits. Advanced Protective Services was recommended as the firm to pursue. Candidates to provide the services were narrowed down based on “experience and approach,” according to Harris. … The decision to privatize police services came after the city decided not to renew the service delivery strategy for the services with Henry County. The city had paid the county $500,000 annually for two Henry County Police Department officers to be in the city limits all hours of the day. The county has maintained that the city has been underpaying for the service, particularly due to the high call volume in Stockbridge. Late last year county officials proposed an agreement that would require Stockbridge to pay the county $743,000, a figure still below the actual cost to provide the additional county services within the city, according to Police Chief Keith Nichols. The payment would have increased 4 percent per year beginning Jan. 1, 2017. … Harris said the officers will likely be armed and be allowed to detain suspects, but will not have arrest powers. The company will mostly be doing code enforcement, typically working evenings and weekends. They will be responsible for having their own liability and insurance coverage, and the city will not be liable for any incidents, said Harris. Preliminary discussions with the council indicate that there will likely be two private officers per shift, which may increase or decrease during certain times of year, Harris said. He said costs will “certainly” be less than the cost of paying the county.