GUYTON — The thin blue line is on the verge of widening in Guyton.
During its regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday, the Guyton City Council approved Chief James Breletic’s request to add two officers to the Guyton Police Department. The council recently approved a budget that includes funds for the additions.
“Council, Mayor, I’d like permission to go ahead so we can start doing interviews,” Breletic said before the unanimous vote. “It’s going to take a period of time to get these individuals trained to the standards that we want for all our citizens.”
After Breletic made the request, Post 3 Councilman Joseph Lee asked him if he intended to man the department 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“The idea would be to go 24/7 once we get our personnel trained properly and see what our assessment is for our time,” Breletic said.
The department currently lacks enough officers to operate 24/7. The city never lacks law enforcement protection, however, because Breletic and his officers are backed by the Effingham County Sheriff’s Office.
“I wouldn’t approve giving you two more officers if you ain’t going to go 24/7 because we don’t need nobody sitting on they thumbs around here,” Lee said.
“That was my exact comment,” Breletic responded, adding that he wants Guyton to have a full-time department.
Breletic said he will notify the council when he believes it is ready to operate around the clock. He said takes up to 12 weeks to get an officer accustomed to department procedures.
“There is a lot of training an officers,” Breletic said. “They don’t just hand them a set of keys anymore. Those days are long gone because of liability.”
The additions will require the purchase of additional vehicles and equipment. The items are also in the 2021-22 budget and will be funded by SPLOST.
The department’s projected is $534,136.