Savannah police chief named DeKalb’s new public safety leader

DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond on Friday announced that Joseph “Jack” H. Lumpkin will be the county’s new public safety head.

Lumpkin, who is chief of the Savannah-Chatham police department, replaces Cedric Alexander, who resigned earlier this year. In the role of the county’s deputy chief operating officer of public safety, Lumpkin will be responsible for police, fire and rescue, animal control, emergency management, 911 and medical examiner services. 

“Chief Lumpkin has built a stellar leadership record in law enforcement in Georgia and across the country,” Thurmond said in a news release. “He will enhance DeKalb’s public safety departments which will help make the county safer and improve quality of life.”

He starts on Jan. 28 and will have an annual salary of $175,000.

Lumpkin, a believer in data and intellegence-based policing, will be tasked with leading 1,600 employees, with a total 2018 annual budget of nearly $201 million. Among the goals the CEO expects him to hit are:

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  • Recruiting and hiring 248 new officers.
  • Continuing the development of the police mental health roundtable, youth crime prevention initiatives and outreach to multilingual communities.
  • Enhancing coordination and communications for emergency and disaster responses. 
  • Administering more than $85 million in special-purpose local-option sales tax funds over the next six years for improving public safety facilities, as well as replacing and building new fire stations and police facilities.

Like Alexander, Lumpkin has been in law enforcement more than 40 years. He has been chief in Toccoa, Albany and Athens-Clark County.

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He’s on the board of directors of the International Association of Chiefs of Police and previously served as a vice president for the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Officers. 

In 2003, he was Georgia NOBLE’s officer of the year. In 2014, he was the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police’s officer of the year. 

Lumpkin has been a proponent of so-called “intellegence-led policing,” a style that has a focus on using data to target the most prolific criminals.

“Intelligence-led policing allows us to employ a laser focus on violent criminals, who are committing a significantly disproportionate percentage of all serious crimes,” Lumpkin told the Savannah Morning News earlier this year. “Along with the District Attorney and the United States Attorney, we are pursuing those that are perpetrating violence within our communities — particularly gang/group involved, gun criminals and drug-involved crimes.”

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In other news: 

He said he does not expect that federal regulators will fine DeKalb County, even though sewer improvements are far from complete.

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