By Joe Johnson
Athens-Clarke County Deputy Police Chief Jerry Saulters has been named ACCPD’s interim chief while the county conducts a nationwide search to replace retired police chief Cleveland Spruill.
The announcement was made in a news release by County Manager Blaine Williams, to whom the police chief reports.
“I would like to express my sincere gratitude to manager Williams for affording me the honor to serve as interim chief of the Athens-Clarke County Police Department during this transition,” Saulters said in an email to Classic City News. “I am excited to provide leadership to the outstanding men and women of ACCPD while continuing to build a modern, community-focused agency.”
A 23-year ACCPD veteran, Saulters has the knowledge and experience that is suited to serve as the county’s police chief until a new chief is hired to replace Spruill, who retired on Thursday.
Saulters began his law enforcement career as an ACCPD patrol officer in 1998, after serving in the U.S. Army for seven years. In 2005 he was assigned to the Criminal Investigations Division’s Robbery/Homicide Unit, and two years later was promoted to sergeant in that division.
In 2012 Saulters was promoted to lieutenant and transferred to the Uniform Patrol Division, where he served as a shift command. In 2014 he graduated from the Southern Police Institute from the University of Louisville. Saulters was promoted to the rank of Captain in 2016 and served as commanding officer of the CID until being promoted to deputy chief in July 2019.
He is a graduate of the University of Louisville’s Southern Police Institute.
Last year, Saulters was in the unique position of serving for several months in command positions simultaneously with two police departments.
On May 7, he began a part-time job as temporary police chief in Baldwin, a city with a few thousand residents in Banks and Habersham counties u7ntil a new chief was hired in September.
County Manager Blaine Williams has opened a survey to ask residents for input through Sunday, April 10 about what they believe should be the characteristics, qualities, and priorities of the next police chief.
“This survey is designed to give residents an opportunity to provide feedback as to what they find most important to consider in our next Police Chief as we move through the search process,” said Williams said in the news release.
Feedback can be provided through an online survey form at www.accgov.com/policechief, through printed forms available at City Hall in the Manager’s Office, and at the police headquarters, 3035 Lexington Road during normal business hours, and through voicemail comments at any time by calling 762-400-8333.
All comments are due by the end of the day on April 10.
A new police chief is expected to be hired by the end of the year.