Growing calls for city of Stockbridge to develop a police department

There have been growing calls across the country to defund police departments, but several Stockbridge residents said they’d support city leaders’ efforts to create one.

In August, Henry County police responded to a hostage situation at a house on East Atlanta Road.

That same week, LaGrange police said a man was armed with a gun, as he stole a dog from a Stockbridge family home.

Police said two men assaulted a man and stole his motorcycle along Highway 138 near Stockbridge in September, and Sunday, according to Henry County police, a man opened fire on a car with a toddler inside.

Those crimes led to a heated Facebook post with hundreds of comments, demanding the city of Stockbridge craft its own police department to give Henry County officers a break.

Natasha Starrett works on Highway 138 near Stockbridge.

"I’ve worked here at the store and just response time for theft, break-ins, customer incidents, you're looking at upwards of 20, 30, I’ve had to wait an hour before for incidents," Starrett said.

Police told FOX 5's Alex Whittler that Clayton County responds to those calls, but Starrett, who has lived in Stockbridge for about 10 years said she’d support city efforts to start its own department.

Stockbridge City Manager Randy Knighton said the city planned on discussing the possibility of a police department this fall, but COVID-19 stifled those plans.

"Obviously, working toward a PD does take time effort, and so forth, to assess how that could unfold," he said.

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The city of Stockbridge does not have a property tax. Knighton said residents could potentially be charged a property tax, should the city ever move forward with the development of a police department.

"Given that you’d certainly want to have those conversations with citizens," he said.

As of right now, there are no scheduled city council meetings to discuss the formation of a Stockbridge police department and those living in Stockbridge should continue to call 911 in case of an emergency. Henry County officers will address the call.