Claxton, Hagan police chiefs propose merger

A proposal for a merger of police services between the Claxton and Hagan Police Departments was presented this week at the towns’ respective council meetings. Claxton Police Chief Dale Kirkland and Hagan Police Chief Andy Benjamin both appeared before the councils on Monday and Tuesday night requesting officials consider the proposal.

The collaborative proposal was written by Kirkland and Benjamin with the intent of ensuring full time police protection for the citizens and businesses in Claxton and Hagan. Both councils will be studying the proposal and will revisit the matter at a later date.

Items among the list of terms and conditions of the proposed contract:

• The contract will remain in effect for a period of one year from the date it begins.

• The City of Hagan will pay $125,000 per year to the City of Claxton for police services.

• The City of Claxton will be responsible for all police services inside the City of Hagan so long as the contract is valid.

• In a joint ceremony, all officers will be sworn in by the Mayor of Claxton and the Mayor of Hagan. This insures that all officers have arrest power in both cities.

• All full time Hagan PD employees will remain employed.

• The Hagan Police Chief will assume the rank of Assistant Chief of Police. The Hagan Police officer will assume the same rank of officer and be assigned to a shift.

• All employee retirement and insurance will remain with the current employers. • All officers will be under the direction of the Claxton Police Chief.

• The Chief of Police will be under the direct supervision of the Mayor of Claxton.

• The Hagan PD will inventory all equipment at the time of contract and detailed records will be made.

• The City of Hagan will maintain its current SPLOST projections for police equipment.

• As the City of Hagan acquires equipment from SPLOST the inventory will be updated.

• The Claxton PD will be responsible for all maintenance of the equipment so long as the contract is valid.

• If either city decides to terminate the contract all equipment and employees will return to their respective cities and ranks. Under no circumstances will the City of Claxton retain any employee or equipment if the contract is terminated.

• Both mayors will be notified of all major incidents or any incident that may have cause for concern.

• Any major purchases, incidents, or emergencies will be discussed between the mayors.

• There will be a scheduled quarterly meeting consisting of the Mayor of Claxton, Mayor of Hagan, Claxton Police Chief and Assistant Chief to discuss any issues that may arise.

• A monthly activity report will be presented at the Hagan City Council meeting and the second Claxton City Council meeting each month. Both the Police Chief and Assistant Chief will attend these meetings to answer any questions. The major benefit to both cities is that the merger would ensure that at least two officers be on patrol at all times. This, in turn, also improves officer safety, according to the proposal.

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