Money for Youth Violence Plan Still a Divisive Issue Between Commitee and Mayor

Confusion and frustration-certainly not what was on Macon Public Safety Committee’s agenda today, but that’s what happened.

The committee met to see about passing $300,000 for the Youth Violence Plan. The money would cover salaries, benefits, and uniforms for one captain, two lieutenants, and three privates for Macon Police.

After about an hour and a half of back-and-forth between the public safety committee, Macon Mayor Robert Reichert, and Macon Police Chief Mike Burns–the committee decided to take yet another look at the proposal, saying it’s not in the city’s best interest to spend that much money.

Mayor Reichert says the meeting was “frustrating.”

“I don’t think anybody can state what they just did,” Reichert lamented. “Who’s going to amend the document, and who’s understanding is the city attorney’s office gonna use to amend the document that supposedly has already been passed? That’s the problem–anytime you adopt an oral motion as complex as this one–you’re inviting a misunderstanding.”

On the other hand, Chairman Virgil Watkins believes they were able to come to a consensus. Watkins says the committee approved three employees for the police department to help with the rise in youth crimes.
Even though that’s not exactly what the Mayor and Chief Burns want,
he says it’s a compromise.

“This is not about officers on the street–this is not about officers arresting youth in a greater capacity–this is about developing programs,” Watkins said of the Youth Violence Plan.

The committee decided to appoint a gun specialist that will work with the U.S. Attorney’s office and police. They also decided to appoint a captain for the Youth and Intervention programs, along with a youth program coordinator, who will be a civilian.

The ordinance will go before full council after the SPLOST is voted on November 8th.

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