LPD nearly halfway to its goal of filling 23 positions

Published 9:20 am Saturday, July 29, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

One month after the LaGrange City Council officially approved a budget that contained significant pay increases for police officers to aid in recruitment and retention, Police Chief Garrett Fiveash says the department is nearing the halfway point to its goal of filling 23 vacant positions.

In June, the council approved a $37.5 million budget that includes a starting pay increase to $60,000 annually for new officers, up from around $52,000. Current officers will also receive $8,000 increase to aid in retention.

Fiveash told the council during its recent work session that the pay increases have the department headed in the right direction when it comes to filling personnel positions.

The chief said nine-plus officers have been hired or are in the works to be hired.

“We’ve hired back four previously employed sworn personnel that used to be with the police department. They have come back,” Fiveash said.

Fiveash said four more potential officers were going through interviews and the testing process as he spoke.

“We have one currently in the academy, and we have four more previously sworn [officers] that are going back through the background check now for reemployment with the police department. So, we’re looking at nine plus in the pipe already,” Fiveash said.

“[The raise] is making a difference. We’re getting more and more inquiries every day. We’re very appreciative of the support from the community and from the council,” he said.

Fiveash said the new officers will put them much closer to the 23 that were needed when the pay incentives were first discussed in May. At the time, City Manager Meg Kelsey said the department was down 18 officers, which didn’t include the five officers requested by the Troup County School System to serve as school resource officers.

“We’re still getting some more phone calls and there are some that are dabbling and testing the waters now and making inquiries about coming back also, so it is making a difference, and we’re very appreciative,” Fiveash said.