A year ago, there was no Brookhaven Police Department. Now, more than 50 officers are working to keep residents safer by patrolling the streets and solving crimes. The Brookhaven Reporter asked Police Chief Gary Yandura five questions about his department’s first six months and about what he expects in 2014. Here are his answers.

Q:  What are your goals for the Brookhaven Police Department in 2014?

A: We are excited to have a place to call police headquarters and looking forward to opening it to the public in early 2014.  We are continuing to establish ourselves in the community and expand the department to meet the needs of Brookhaven.

Q:  What are the greatest challenges facing the Brookhaven Police department in 2014?

A: We are looking forward to our first full year as a police department.

Q:  What has the Brookhaven Police Department learned during its first six months?

A: We have been able to get a better idea of crime rates and trends that affect our area.  We are using that information to deploy manpower and resources in order to combat and deter crime.

Q:  What was the high point of 2013?

A: Seeing a police department built from the ground up has been extremely exciting.  The work is far from over.  Every day brings about a new challenge and new satisfaction when that challenge is met.  Citizens continue to thank us and welcome us in to their community.  We are so proud to be here and happy to serve the citizens of Brookhaven.

Q:  What was the oddest thing that happened in 2013?

A: Not necessarily odd, but we are proud to say that we started the agency in 3 1/2 months.  Considering all of the purchases to be made and resumes to sort through, many told us that we would not be able to start up in that short amount of time.  We were persistent and worked long hours in order to start a department that we and the citizens could be proud of in a very short amount of time.  This could not have been accomplished without the strong support of the original police and city staff working together.

Dan Whisenhunt wrote for Reporter Newspapers from 2011-2014. He is the founder and editor of Decaturish.com