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Walthourville starting up police department
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The county’s smaller municipalities are proving a police department does not have to be the size of Hinesville’s 80-plus force to have a police chief.
The city of Walthourville is currently seeking a police chief, according to an advertisement that has been running in the Courier and according to the advertisement it would be a “startup department.”
Walthourville Mayor Daisy Pray said the issue will be further discussed at Thursday’s city council meeting.
The city has a population of approximately 4,000. It is not completely unheard of for a small city to have its own police department.
Midway hired its police chief a couple of years ago, according to Mayor Don Emmons.
“For the most part, we’re growing and we needed additional protection,” Emmons said.
Besides of growing population, Emmons mentioned the county sheriff department’s limited resources. With at least one MPD patrol person on duty 24 hours, the city can respond to its citizen calls sooner.
Based on his experience, Emmons thinks cities decide to seek a police chief to further provide safety for the citizens.  
“It’s a council decision that city and council does (and) feel what is best for the community,” Emmons said.
Midway decided to pursue a police chief two years ago and it now has two police officers. He said it did not take long to establish the police department.
“Basically, you have to hire your chief first, there’s a whole lot of policies (and) there’s a lot of administrative work to happen before anything else can happen,” Emmons said.
He said compensation can be difficult for smaller municipalities.
“A lot of it is a cost issue,” Emmons said. “We can’t give a $50,000 salary, and we kind of have to pick and choose and so far we’ve been pretty lucky.”
According to Walthourville’s job announcement, the salary is “expected to be highly competitive in order to attract top candidates.” The job opening closes Nov. 27.
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