Glynn County: Senate passes bill that would get rid of county police departments

GLYNN COUNTY, Ga. — A proposed bill that passed the Georgia Senate Thursday by a 5 to 4 vote could get rid of county police departments altogether.

Under the bill state lawmakers could let voters decide if they want to get rid of county police departments and let county sheriff’s offices handle law enforcement.

State Sen. William Ligon from Brunswick proposed the idea in response to a grand jury’s suggestion that Glynn County commissioners ask voters whether the police department there should exist.

Some neighbors feel the decision will give them more input on decisions made in the county.

“I think it gives you a little more mouth,” Kevin Brady explained.

“Without order there is going to be chaos, they can’t really have it both ways. They will need to figure something out,” added Jessica Weston.

But chairman of the Glynn County Board of Commissioners Michael Browning thinks differently.

“I’ve never seen anything like it in my life and really, I’m not believing this is happening,” Browning said.

Browning adds he believes the legislation is politically motivated because none of the commissioners were called in to discuss what will happen to the police department.

“This is not how you govern; this is not how you address problems even within a government. If you have something broken, you sit down at the table with those who can fix it,” said Browning.

The Glynn County Police Department made national news in 2018 when one of its own killed his estranged wife, her boyfriend and himself.

We also told you last year when its narcotics unit came under fire for inappropriate behavior.

“If they are doing their job then it really isn’t a bad thing but if there is corruption, laziness, pettiness and people using their powers to do what they want then I’m not for that,” Weston said.

Commissioner Browning told Action News Jax he plans to appeal the bill and wants to talk about the grand jury report and identify what issues needs to be addressed.

In Glynn County where there are two agencies, the county police handle the enforcement of state and local laws while the Sheriff’s Office manages the jail.

Sheriffs also are elected, while county, or municipal, police chiefs are appointed by local government officials.