North Augusta Public Safety plans expansion to match growth

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July 8, 2006

As a city grows bigger in population, its city services will need to keep up as well.

The city of North Augusta is growing by leaps and bounds, with new riverfront property planned for the next ten years.

City services, including public safety, will need to grow too.

At city hall, they're mapping out the future of North Augusta.

"It's a very busy time, dealing with the growth," says Chief Lee Wetherington of North Augusta Public Safety. "But there's no question that it's exciting."

It's excitement one can't help but notice, with new condos, new shopping...and more traffic.

For the last six years, this small and intimate city has been growing by three percent a year.

With 7800 units proposed for the next decade, North Augusta's population could very well double in size.

"You know, we start planning five, five to ten years out," Chief Wetherington says.

Chief Wetherington says he isn't worried, and that he and city council are staying ahead of the growth.

"We've also added two officers to the shifts this past year to patrol strengths. We've got two more scheduled to come on board in the next two years."

But there's no denying that with 20,000 new residents by 2016, dispatch will be lighting up.

"A lot of those calls escalate when you start putting people on top of people because it just naturally causes a reason for complaint," Chief Wetherington says. "North Augusta's very proud of its small town character, and we want to make sure that's maintained."

Here's how North Augusta stacks up against the other local departments:

North Augusta Public Safety: 51 Officers
Population: 19,500
~1 officer for every 382 people

Richmond County: 496 Deputies
Population: 195,769 (US Census, 2005)
~1 officer for every 395 people

Columbia County: 256 Deputies
Population: 103,812 (US Census, 2005)
~1 officer for every 406 people