By Joe Johnson
Interim has been removed from the title Athens-Clarke County Police Chief Jerry Saulters has had for the past seven months.
County Manager Blaine Williams on Friday announced that Saulters had been appointed as chief, after serving as the interim since March, with the retirement of former Police Chief Cleveland Spruill.
Saulters, a 24-year ACCPD veteran, will immediately assume his new rank and responsibilities, according to Williams.
Officers who have worked with Saulters over the years had quietly been rooting for him as the county conducted a nationwide search for Spruill’s replacement.
“Jerry Saulters has the heart of a servant and guardian, and he is a terrific human being,” the county manager said. “I believe he is the best person to lead our sworn and civilian staff as chief of police of the Athens-Clarke County Police Department, as well as to continue to build trust, respect, and relationships in the community with all of our residents.”
As part of the process of selecting a new chief, Williams collected public input from residents, as well as current and past police officers from patrol officers to command staff. During the spring, residents and staff provided nearly 600 submissions.
“I am humbled by this opportunity to lead the Athens-Clarke County Police Department as the Chief of Police,” Saulters said. “Working alongside our outstanding men and women and serving the Athens-Clarke County community for the last 24 years has been an honor and a privilege. The Athens-Clarke County Police Department and those who serve this community are among the best in the world, and we will continue collaborating with our community to reduce crime and enhance public trust.”
As Police Chief, Saulters will lead a department of over 330 authorized sworn officers and civilians, with a $27 million budget.
Saulters started his law enforcement career with the ACCPD in 1998. Prior to joining law enforcement, he served in the United States Army.
Saulters is a graduate of the Southern Police Institute Administrative Officers Course at the University of Louisville and the Columbus State University professional management program. He has over 3,000 hours of advanced law enforcement training and graduated in 2022 from the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police’s Chief Executive Training program.
After joining the police department, Saulters initially spent seven years in the Uniform Division as a patrolman before serving in and eventually supervising the Criminal Investigations Division Robbery/Homicide Unit. He later served as a commander for the midnight shift of the West Precinct; transferred to the command staff to oversee the Office of Professional Standards, Recruitment, and Crime Prevention; commanded the Criminal Investigations Division; and was promoted to Deputy Chief in 2019 in the Operations Bureau and the Administrative Bureau.
Saulters was named the Sherm Applebaum Officer of the Year in 2012 for outstanding professional and community service by the Athens Rotary Club.
For more information on the Athens-Clarke County Police Department, visit www.accgov.com/police.