Athens Classic, Inc. is urging Mayor Girtz, City Manager Blaine Williams and the Athens/Clarke County Commission to select the next permanent Chief of Police from within the department. Acting Chief Jerry Saulters, and both Deputy Chiefs, are expected to place their names in consideration. At present, the city is planning a 'national search.' We believe strongly that the best candidate is already an employee of the city and the department and that there are numerous reasons, referenced in the letter below, that this is the best path to take.
We have some changes coming to the Commission, but those new members don't take their seats, or have a vote until January 2023.
Long list of signers have all authorized use of their names and support of this as well. Letter to Mayor & Commission regarding the search for New Athens-Clarke County Chief of Police
Mayor Kelly Girtz, Members of the Athens-Clarke County Commission, and Blaine Williams, County Manager: One of the most important public servants in any community is the Chief of Police. He or she has to often walk a fine line of enforcing the law, and at times being compassionate as well as professional with people experiencing times of crisis or clear symptoms of mental illness and/or addiction. Knowing the community well is an integral component of this position, and while Athens/Clarke County has had some fine Chiefs, as well as elected Clarke County Sheriffs, we have also experienced a significant amount of turnover in this position in recent years. We all believe that the best fit for our community will be an experienced command officer, who already has the trust and support of the police force, as well as deep relationships, respect, and bonds built across our community. We collectively believe that the best candidates already exist WITHIN the Athens/Clarke County Police Department. The Interim Chief, as well as the two Deputy Chiefs, have decades of experience within the department as well as within the community they serve. Each of these men has the respect of their command structure and fellow officers, the confidence and support of the immediate prior chief, and an irreplaceable institutional memory of this community as well as the existing strengths and weaknesses of the department.
We found Cleveland Spruill to be an outstanding Chief of Police, and we wish him well in retirement as well as his return to his native mid-Atlantic/Tidewater region, but we think that we would all find a better result, skipping the time and expense of a 'national' search, when we have three serious, known and well-regarded options already within the department.
The undersigned, as well as many others strongly recommend that you look no further than the Police Department HQ on Lexington Road, to make a final selection of our new permanent Chief of Police.
Reverend Abraham Mosley Mike Young
Reverend B.A. Hart Stuart Cofer Reverend Luis Ortiz Bryan Austin Charlie Upchurch Carol Williams Joe Block Lewis Scruggs Michael Blaesing Gerry Whitworth Steve Middlebrooks Grant Tribble Christopher Belk Brad Akins Sandy Metts Sid & Jim Waters Steve Everett Jamie Scott
Gordon & Joan Rhoden Doug Patterson David Long Charlie Maddox Mitch Jordan Lee & Becky Brinson James Whitley Apryl Hughes Brad and Vanessa Akins Richard Warner Ricky Chastain