The City of Richmond Hill is located approximately 12 miles south of Savannah, Georgia. We are considered by many a suburb of Savannah and as such have experienced tremendous growth for many reasons, some of which include the school system, lower taxes and the almost non-existent violent crime rate.
Richmond Hill was incorporated in 1962. At that time it was a very small community and relatively unknown. There was no need for a full time police department. Law enforcement was provided by one Bryan County Sheriff’s Department deputy.
The south end of Bryan County eventually started to experience tremendous growth due in party to the popular school systems and the low tax rate. With the new growth in the mid 70’s, the residents of Richmond Hill decided a police department was needed. Then Mayor, Douglas T. Ellis made it his mission to start a police department in Richmond Hill. On October 18, 1977, the city hired a police chief and one officer. The police department was located in city hall, consisting of three rooms, shared with other employees. The city purchased used police cars from the City of Port Wentworth, leaving the Port Wentworth decals intact except for the city name. Radios and other used equipment were either donated or purchased from other agencies.
Today the Richmond Hill Police Department consists of thirty-four sworn officers and ten administrative staff. We are very proud of the fact that our agency has been able to progress with the community. The Department consists of three divisions: the Patrol Division, the Criminal Investigations Division and the Administrative Services Division. Specialized units consist of K-9, SWAT, UAV, and Hostage Negotiations.
Unlike the 70’s and early 80’s, our officers are equipped with the most modern equipment available to law enforcement. Construction of a 10,000 square foot police complex was completed in late 1999, and was paid for with confiscated drug funds. All officers are equipped with ballistic vests, portable radios, 45 caliber handguns, new shotguns, laptop computers for reporting, specialized weapons, in-car video cameras, body worn cameras and many other items that are necessary to perform their duties. The department also has a state of the art firearms complex and training center. Additionally, the records system is totally computerized.
The Richmond Hill Police Department received state certification from the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police in January 2000. This certification means that the Department will be in compliance with basic standards adopted by the association. Certification acknowledges the implementation of policies and procedures that are conceptually sound and operationally effective.