At Issue: Should Stockbridge take over its own law enforcement?

Henry County government and Stockbridge city government continue their negotiations regarding police services. For more than three decades the county has been handling the policing in Stockbridge, now the largest city in the county and the only one without its own police department.

The negotiations have been contentious of late, with the county wanting to raise the city’s annual fee for this service as much as fourfold before more recent proposals which were considerably less.

The attorney for Stockbridge told the Board of Commissioners last week that by law it must honor the existing agreement until a new one is in place and that the matter must go to mediation if a deal cannot be struck. At one point a month ago, some commissioners seemed content to let the current agreement expire and allow Stockbridge to fend for itself.

Stockbridge has considered starting its own police department and came close to doing so in 2013 before a new mayor and some new council members took office. City officials have said the issue will be explored again but only with considerable citizen input.

There is little doubt that starting a police department from scratch will cost the city several million dollars and likely necessitate a tax increase.

What do you think? Is the county being unreasonable in raising its financial demands or is the city getting a sweet deal? Should Stockbridge take over police services for its own citizens?

Send comments to communitynews@ajc.com. We’ll publish some online and in print next week.

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