Public safety COO: ‘This is a team effort’

When DeKalb County hired Jack Lumpkin as director of public safety, Lumpkin said improving the county’s police and fire recruitment was a “top priority.”

At a board of commissioners committee of the whole meeting May 15, Lumpkin updated commissioners on the county’s recruitment efforts, stating that improving public safety in the county would be a “team effort.”

Lumpkin introduced commissioners and those in attendance to police applicants who accepted employment in DeKalb County, 911 communication officers and fire service rescue recruits.

“They have helped us develop a culture of public safety that helps police and fire work seamlessly together more than any other jurisdiction I’ve previously worked with,” Lumpkin said.

According to Lumpkin, the success of DeKalb’s public safety will depend on the leadership abilities of its “millennial” recruits.

Lumpkin said a large number of the county’s new fire service recruits are considered “millennials.

In August of this year, Lumpkin said there will be county-wide leadership training for all public safety personnel.

“We will commence teaching the international association of chief of police flagship leadership development training,” Lumpkin said. “We want everyone to understand what leadership is. We have to manage millennials because that’s our workforce now.”

In February, DeKalb hired 47 new fire recruits with the help of a federal grant.

In 2017, the county received $4.9 million from the federal Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant. The funding allowed DeKalb to increase its staffing levels, according to county officials.

The Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax also will fund new fire stations and improve existing stations.

“This is going to be a team effort and we’re going to accomplish the goals that the CEO [Michael Thurmond] and commissioners have developed for us,” Lumpkin said.

Thurmond said the county plans to adjust public safety salaries for the mid-year budget amendments.

“We congratulate these brave young men and women who keep all of us safe and we want them to continue to do a great job,” Thurmond said.

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