2011-10-05 / For The Record

WPD gets grant, new officer

By Elizabeth Billips lizbillips@yahoo.com

Waynesboro will have an extra police officer on the force, thanks to a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice.

The $ 122,118 in federal funds will keep a new fulltime patrolman on staff at the Waynesboro Police Department (WPD) for three full years without costing local agencies a penny.

The only financial commitment city officials must make is to pick up the tab for salary and benefits for 12 months after the grant has ended.

For Police Chief Alfonzo Williams, the good news couldn’t have come soon enough.

Increasing police presence has been at the top of his priority list since taking over the department in February, and one of his first sweeping moves was to restructure the responsibilities of WPD’s 23 sworn officers to put six to10 on road patrol at any given time, as opposed to the previous three to five.

And one more officer, he said, can make a world of difference in a small town like Waynesboro.

Besides routine patrols, Chief Williams wants the new officer to focus on decreasing the number of family violence incidents and cracking down on drug activity in neighborhoods and government housing areas.

“The person we select will have an emphasis on community policing and problem solving,” he said.

The police department has already begun taking applications and expects to fill the position in the next few weeks.

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