News 12 at 11 o'clock / Tuesday, April 23, 2013
WAYNESBORO, Ga. (WRDW) -- Another police officer has resigned from the Waynesboro Police Department -- marking the sixth officer to leave in a couple of months. This pattern is starting to concern residents, and they are not the only ones affected. There's growing concern in the business community, too.
"It gets big. In this section, we have over 100 people come in just for karaoke. In the other section, we have around 200 -- maybe a 150," said the manager of Camino Real Mexican Restaurant.
Close to 300 people will be filling the Camino Real Restaurant in less than two weeks. They are all coming to celebrate Cinco de Mayo.
"They'll sing, they'll drink, they'll eat. And just stay around and drink some more, and they will never leave," said Manager Paolo Ortiz.
Ortiz says one of his priorities is to make sure everyone is having a good time, but his other one is safety. And he depends on the Waynesboro Police Department on his biggest day of business.
"We actually get two city police department people to come in and what they will do is go to each doorway and check IDs," Ortiz said.
But the main reason they hire the officers is for crowd control and alcohol. Sometimes drinks can raise tempers.
"They'll monitor everything. As soon as this room gets really packed, they'll start bringing people outside because there's a certain limit on how many people can come in here," Ortiz said.
Ortiz says there's also a certain limit to how long the city should take to hire a chief. He believes the lack of a top cop is the reason officers keep leaving.
"If you don't have leadership or a police chief in charge, you don't know what to do. You don't know who to listen to because everyone is telling you what to do. Especially the young police," he said.
And while Ortiz doesn't know who to blame, one longtime Waynesboro resident has an idea.
"It's got to be due to money or the council or something. They are not doing something right," said David Davis.
However, Davis does have a thought on how to keep officers on the force here.
"Up the pay rate for the police officers," he said.
The Waynesboro Police Department is not that big, even when it's fully staffed. The whole department has 25 to 30 employees, so having six leave is definitely noticed around town.