The new chief said that he recognizes the sensitive climate the department operates in and that his approach would be to listen intently as he talks with staff and the community.
“On the local level it’s all about relationships,” he said. “It’s about creating and maintaining relationships between the police department and the community. We’ve go to be willing to talk about everything. If you can’t do that, you can’t make progress.”
Zgonc will oversee 140 employees and 98 sworn officers in a city almost half as populated as Sandy Springs’ 110,000 people.
If Milton’s chief lands the position in Kansas City, Austin would be moving to a city of more than three times the population as the north Fulton City. Austin, a 30-year law enforcement veteran, was hired as Milton chief in 2016 from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, where he was captain of internal affairs.
Milton City Manager Steven Krokoff told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in a statement that Austin has his full support in pursuing the Kansas police chief role.
In Johns Creek, The International Association of the Chiefs of Police is conducting the search for a new police chief to replace Chris Byers, who resigned during the summer following a two-month investigation into explicit sexual remarks he made to a police department employee.
The investigation followed a controversial Facebook post Byers made in June on the Black Lives Matter movement in aftermath of the death of George Floyd by Derek Chauvin.