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Avondale Estates to soon begin interviewing police chief candidates

Avondale Estates Trending

Avondale Estates to soon begin interviewing police chief candidates

Avondale Estates police car. Photo by Dean Hesse.

Avondale Estates, GA  — The city of Avondale Estates will soon begin interviewing candidates to be the next police chief.

“I have received the scores from the assessment conducted by the Georgia Association of Police Chiefs and have extended invitations, which were accepted, to a panel of three local stakeholders to assist in the process of providing me with feedback in order to inform my decision of hire,” City Manager Patrick Bryant said at the March 23 city commission work session.

The city is working on setting up times to convene the panel and once that is done, the city will extend invitations to the candidates who were selected to move through the interview process.

The city began the process of looking for its next police chief after a failed accreditation attempt.

The city of Avondale Estates set out to receive accreditation for the city’s police department through the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police in August 2020. For about a year, the agency was seemingly on track to complete the process. But behind the scenes, the assessment team uncovered issues so problematic that they stopped the assessment early.

The city on Sept. 20, 2021, announced the department did not receive the accreditation. The scathing report produced as a result of the accreditation attempt led to the ouster of the city’s police chief and the resignation of an official managing the accreditation.

Since then, the city has partnered with the GACP to conduct the search for the next police chief. In February 2022 nine candidates went through the GACP’s one-day competency assessment.

“We feel like each of these nine candidates possess the qualifications necessary to lead the department into the future, and feel very confident that from that group of nine, we will be able to find the best candidate for us at this time,” Bryant said at the Feb. 8 city commission meeting.

At the time, Bryant said that GACP would take about a week to score the assessments, and then he would review the scores with GACP to decide how many candidates will move forward to the interview phase.

“Once that determination is made, I will convene a panel consisting of stakeholders in the community to assist with that process,” Bryant previously said. “We anticipate that process occurring in the month of April. If all goes well, we hope we will have a permanent police chief on board sometime during the month of May.”

Avondale Estates has also been working on drafting requests for proposals to seek a third-party review of the police department’s policies and procedures, and a review of the department for racial bias. The GACP has advised the city to wait until a new police chief is hired before releasing the RFPs, so the new police chief can participate in the process.

The City Commission committed to hiring a third-party consultant to review the department in June 2020 and interviewed two candidates in September 2020.

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