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Chief hopes to fill officer's position

Thomson Police Chief John Hathaway is again confronted with a shortage of officers.

The latest officer to leave is Marquis Murray. Mr. Murray, who came to Thomson about a year ago from the Grovetown Department of Public Safety, is now a deputy with the Taliaferro County Sheriff's Department in Crawfordville, Ga.

Chief Hathaway is looking for an officer to work nights.

The police chief also learned recently that Sgt. Willie Williams would be returning after several weeks on medical leave.

"That was some real good news for a change," Chief Hathaway said.

Just a few weeks ago, two other officers had medical problems.

They included Sgt. Jammie Smith, who broke a foot on duty and Officer Josh Caston, who was bitten by a spider. Both have since returned to active duty.

Earlier this year, the police department lost part-time officer Jesse Bowman. Officer Bowman worked in a neighborhood overseen by the Thomson Housing Authority.

After retiring from the Savannah River Site, Mr. Bowman was hired to become the new chief of the Harlem Department of Public Safety.

"It's been rather tough on us the last few months," Chief Hathaway admitted.

"It's tough keeping good officers when the pay scale isn't equal to what other cities pay," Chief Hathaway said. "And when you factor in that our officers don't get to carry their patrol cars home, it becomes just that much more difficult to keep them."

Many law enforcement agencies allow officers to take their patrol cars home.

Such a policy existed in Thomson until gasoline prices became so high.

"If we want top people as officers, we're going to have to start meeting some of the same standards that other cities have in place," Chief Hathaway said.

Web posted on Thursday, August 06, 2009

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