Athens Police Chief Scott Freeman is no longer with the department.
County Manager Blaine Williams tells WUGA news, the move comes after several discussions with the Chief about issues facing the department. Williams said attrition was his most serious concern.
“Having the police officers than we need to keep the citizens of this community safe is all important to me,” according to Williams.
Williams says Freeman leaving was a mutual decision.
“We talked at length and we have been about conditions at the department, some of which are beyond the chief’s control, and we came to a mutual agreement that his resignation would be acceptable.”
He says the department will now conduct a national search in order to find the right candidate.
Athens-Clarke County Unified Government Manager Blaine Williams announces the resignation of Police Chief R. Scott Freeman, Ph. D., as Chief of the Police Department in order to pursue other opportunities. The resignation is effective September 13, 2018.
"I want to thank Chief Freeman for his dedicated service to the Athens-Clarke County community and for his work to strengthen community engagement and communication with the Police Department," said Manager Blaine Williams. "He has helped lead the Police Department during a number of significant challenges. We wish him well in his future endeavors."
Williams has appointed Captain Mike Hunsinger to serve as Interim Police Chief until a permanent replacement is named after the Athens-Clarke County Unified Government conducts a national search. Hunsinger is a 30-year veteran of the Athens-Clarke County Police Department, a graduate of the FBI Academy, and a graduate of the Command College.
"It has truly been my honor and privilege to serve as the Athens-Clarke County Police Chief over the last several years," said Freeman. "The men and women who make up this Police Department demonstrate every day that they are truly committed to our mission of preventing and reducing crime, reducing the fear of crime, and improving the quality of life for everyone in the Athens community. We continually looked for ways to improve our services and I am extremely proud of what we accomplished together."
Freeman was appointed Chief of Police in June 2015 after the retirement of former Police Chief Jack Lumpkin. Previously, Freeman served as Chief Deputy for the Rockdale County Sheriff’s Office.
The Athens-Clarke County Police Department has an authorized strength of 254 sworn positions, 65 civilian positions, and 33 crossing guards. The Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) first accredited the department in 1987 as the 48th in the nation and has also recognized the department with an Advanced Accreditation with Excellence, its highest award.
The department was the first state-certified law enforcement agency with the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police while the Police Central Communications Center is also one of the few in Georgia to have earned its own specialized CALEA accreditation.
For more information about the Athens-Clarke County Police Department, visit www.accgov.com/police.