From today’s Sentinel:

‘Tough times for everybody’
Deputy Chief: Police may face cutbacks
By Winston Jones
Staff Writer

Economic bad times haven’t brought cuts to the Douglasville Police Department yet, but the possibility is looming, Deputy Chief Chris Womack told a Kiwanis meeting Friday.

“These are tough times for everybody and the potential is there for reducing the city work force,” Womack said at the noon meeting of the Kiwanis Club of Douglas County. “We’re going to have to address them because of the city shortfall.”

He said furloughs haven’t as yet been needed, but added, “Anything is within the realm of possibilities.”

Womack said the department has already cut out overtime despite the fact that officers have to complete at least 20 hours of training per month.

“The chief (Joe Whisenant) likes to see 40 hours,” he said.

Womack said daytime home burglary is a big problem faced by local law enforcement.

“About 20 of the 30 burglaries in January involved kicking down doors and taking flat screen TVs from homes,” he said.

Womack said the police department is eagerly awaiting construction of the new public safety and municipal court building.

“We’re thankful the taxpayers got behind us and passed the bond,” he said.

Womack said that while working with the Douglasville Police for the past 20 years has been a pleasant experience, he said the police facilities are among the worst in metro Atlanta.

“We’re now working out of seven buildings,” he said. “These building weren’t designed to be police facilities. It’s a management nightmare.”

He cited a recent incident where a female inmate escaped from a holding area in one of the buildings.

Womack is a graduate of Douglas County High School. After school, he served with the U.S. Marines for four years. He returned to Douglasville in 1989 and began work with the Douglasville Police Department.

“I was just getting by in high school,” Womack confessed. “The Marines was a huge turning point for me.”

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