After months of debate that left a split in opinion among Resaca City Council members, the city’s police department was disbanded and the decision has been made for the sheriff’s office to assume responsibility for the city.
Commissioners accepted an agreement Tuesday evening that will allow Resaca to have an officer from the sheriff’s office on patrol in the city from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days per week.
The city will pay the county $100,000 over the course of 12 months, retroactively beginning Oct. 1. The money, said County Attorney Suzanne Hutchinson, will go into the county’s general fund.
Either entity has the option of terminating the contract with 90 days’ notice, she said. The 12-month period will allow both parties the opportunity to determine if the agreed-upon sum is adequate for the services provided, she explained.
Sheriff Mitch Ralston said the sheriff’s office already has a presence in Resaca, but the contract allows for another off-duty officer to provide extra coverage for the chance to earn extra pay. These officers will receive the same pay rate while they are on duty in Resaca that they do during their regular hours at the sheriff’s office, he said.
“As a county, we want Resaca, as a city, to be successful,” the sheriff said.
“We want to do them a good job,” he said. “We want this to be a positive.”
The sheriff’s office will be able to use several cars and various pieces of equipment belonging to the city of Resaca.
Ralston suggested the county take two patrol cars: one car is paid for; a few thousand dollars is owed on anther, he said. The county can either purchase this car for the amount owed on it or knock that amount of the contract and allow Resaca to continue to pay off the car, he said.
Two more new cars remain; Ralston suggested the city solicit bids on them from other law en-forcement departments.
The city and county must reach an agreement on the remaining equipment Ralston said, but it “won’t be a burden on the sheriff’s office or the Gordon County taxpayer.”