Luther Lamar, assistant chief of police at Baton Rouge Community College and a 14-year veteran of the Fulton County police, was selected by South Fulton mayor Bill Edwards to run the new department earlier this month. But, city council voted unanimously against his decision.
Photo: Channel 2 Action News
Photo: Channel 2 Action News

South Fulton hired and fired a police chief in one day 

The new City of South Fulton had its first police chief – briefly. 

Luther Lamar, assistant chief of police at Baton Rouge Community College and a 14-year veteran of the Fulton County police, was hired to run the new department earlier this month. 

Bill Edwards, the South Fulton mayor, said he made the selection because Lamar was the best of more than 80 candidates. 

But, he said, members of city council disagreed. The council unanimously vetoed Edwards’ selection, Channel 2 reported.

“There is a provision of the law that during the transition period, in the absence of the city manager, that the council can weigh on the hiring and firing of individuals,” Edwards told the news station.

Because Lamar had never been a police chief elsewhere, they thought another candidate would be a better choice. 

“I still think he’s the best qualified,” Edwards said. “That argument has no merit.” 

Edwards said other local police chiefs, including Atlanta chief Erika Shields, were not police chiefs in other cities before taking over their departments. 

Lamar has years of command experience, Edwards said, and is working on a doctorate. On top of that, he knows the city. 

“Nobody can compare to that,” he said. 

South Fulton has scheduled an emergency meeting to discuss personnel matters on Wednesday, which Edwards said was probably meant to deal with his hiring decision. While these decisions would ordinarily fall to a city manager, Edwards is acting in that capacity while negotiations continue with a new manager for the city. 

“I felt I had the right to do that,” Edwards said of the hire. “I guess I don’t.” 

Lamar, and other candidates, were vetted by police professionals, including the police chiefs of Union City and Dunwoody and Eldrin Bell, a former Atlanta police chief, Edwards said. 

The city will bring police officers over at the end of March. Edwards said in order to do so, a new chief must be hired. 

“Now, we’re back to square one,” he said.

In other news:

The case against the DeKalb mom accused of leaving her baby to die could end Wednesday. The DeKalb County DA's Office said Dijanelle Fowler is expected to plead guilty. Dijanelle, 25, is accused of leaving her daughter, Skylar Fowler, 1, to die in a hot car. Police say Dijanelle left the baby during a hair appointment June 15, 2017. Police have said from the beginning they believe Skylar's death was an accident. The baby's father, Louis Williams, said a prosecutor told him to expect a 13-20 year senten

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.