Justin Gregory
Photo: Athens Banner-Herald
Photo: Athens Banner-Herald

Athens deputy police chief leaving weeks after chief resigns

Leadership turnover within Athens’ police department continued as Deputy Chief Justin Gregory announced his resignation late last week.

The move comes less than two weeks after Athens-Clarke County Manager Blaine Williams asked Scott Freeman to resign as police chief.

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But Gregory said his departure does not follow that template. He boiled it down to a personal life decision.

“Needless to say, the chief — his resignation made me think about it,” Gregory told AJC.com. “I really thought this would be a good time for me to launch the next stage of my life.”

Gregory, who is 46 and has been with Athens-Clarke County police for 23 years, said he plans to take some time to think about a second career.

“I really think I owe it to my family and myself,” Gregory said, adding that he has considered putting the brakes on law enforcement for about a year.

Freeman resigned Sept. 13 after being in talks with Williams over his position for months.

“We mutually agreed his resignation would be in the best interest of the department,” Williams said at the time.

The department had recently come under fire after videos led to criticism against Athens police officials.

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According to police department personnel files based on interviews with employees and obtained by AJC.com, Freeman and Gregory were “tied at the hip,” and several employees questioned their leadership abilities. 

Gregory submitted his two-week notice Friday.

Williams said he got an email from Gregory informing him of his decision, and clarified that he was not involved in his departure.

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