The Hinesville Police Department is moving to 12-hour shifts for officers in the patrol division after approval by the mayor and council on April 5.
Interim Police Chief Bill Kirkendall said most police departments already have 12-hour shifts. He said HPD continues to lose employees because the current eight-hour system is outdated and limits the amount of time officers can spend with their families.
He said he surveyed the officers and found that 74 percent approved of 12-hour shifts. He said morale improved when officers heard he was going to propose the change. The interim chief added several officers, who were thinking of leaving, said they would stay due to the change.
The council unanimously approved the motion which went into effective the next week. Kirkendall said he has also been working with the city manager on a proposal to let officers take their patrol vehicles home.
In other news:
• The council received a revised draft of a personnel policy change. During the 2017 city planning workshop the policy was reviewed and Councilman Keith Jenkins said he would like to have the powers of the personnel board put back into the council’s hands. The revised policy would abolish the board, replacing that part of the policy with:
“City manager to review the case (termination, suspension or demotion in pay) and render a decision to uphold, modify or set aside the department head’s decision. The employee may request an appeal before mayor and council. Mayor and council retain the right to accept or deny appeal hearing request. City attorney to provide criteria on reasons that the mayor and council could elect not to hear an appeal.”
Members discussed whether the person appealing could present new information during the hearing. Councilman Jason Floyd said he worried that any new information brought forward had not been properly vetted.
City Attorney Linnie Darden said as written the revised policy would allow for new evidence to be presented.
Darden asked the council to consider whether that part of the draft needed to be revised before a vote.
• The council approved a special permit request for a church at 926 E.G. Miles Parkway.
• The council approved a variance request and design recommendation for expansion of Manna House.
• The city was awarded $571,544 from the 2018 Community HOME Investment program for the city to build two-single family homes and rehabilitate six homes in the Azalea Street neighborhood. The new homes will then be sold to eligible buyers.