The Chatham County Sheriff’s Office will help patrol unincorporated areas around Savannah starting Feb. 1, the county announced Friday.
That is when the joint Savannah-Chatham police department will split into two separate forces after working together since 2005.
The new Chatham County Police Department does not have enough officers to do the job on its own. Chief Jeff Hadley said that’s in part because hiring officers takes time.
“We’re not going to rush hiring folks for the sake of just hiring folks," he said. "We want the right people.”
Hadley also noted that CCPD is competing to recruit officers with other law enforcement agencies in the area. He said the department continues to interview officers for the open positions.
The department currently has 50 officers, 81 below the full staffing level of 131.
The county initially asked the city of Savannah for help with policing. But Hadley said that brought up questions of jurisdiction, indemnity, and other issues that are not a concern with the county sheriff’s office.
Officers from Savannah and the other municipalities will assist county officers if needed, and vice versa, Hadley said, because of mutual aid agreements among the different local governments.