Johns Creek: Residents will interview next police chief

Teenagers, people of color, and others who said they’ve experienced abuse in their lives, questioned Johns Creek City Council about the payment to former Police Chief Chris Byers.

Johns Creek residents will have their say in selecting the city’s next police chief. The city hired the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) to conduct a search for the best qualified candidates, City Manager Ed Densmore said Monday. A resident panel could interview police chief candidates as soon as November, Densmore said.

Former Police Chief Chris Byers resigned Aug. 10 following a two-month investigation into explicit sexual remarks he made to a police department employee in December. The investigation followed a controversial Facebook post Byers made in June on the Black Lives Matter movement.

During the summer, Johns Creek residents called for transparency by the city and a citizen advisory committee to keep police officers accountable for their actions.

During a Monday City Council meeting, Densmore said residents will help draft a candidate profile for police chief applicants. IACP will survey residents to determine what qualifications they want to see in the new chief. The responses, in addition to city requirements and suggestions by others in the community, will help to create the candidate profile, which will be used as a guide through the search process, the city manager said.

When the search is narrowed, a stakeholder panel of about five residents will have an opportunity to interview candidates, according to the process Densmore established.

Densmore confirmed to City Council that the new police chief must be someone residents are comfortable with.

Johns Creek plans to separately form a public safety citizen advisory committee that would make recommendations to the police and fire departments on policies, procedures and more. Council members have looked at committee models used in the states of Washington, Oregon and Colorado.

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