New APD chiefs to go to work Dec. 12

ALBANY -- After eight months on the job, Albany Police Chief John Proctor should have his new management team in place in a week.

Proctor introduced his eight new team members at a 5 p.m. Friday news conference. Two were hired from outside the department and six were promoted from within.

"We will work to improve the image of the Albany Police Department. We will provide direction and leadership with improved accountability," Proctor said. "We will review our staffing and how we are deployed so that we can better serve the citizens of this community."

The staffing promotions and hires take effect Dec. 12, Proctor said.

Because that is the middle of the month -- and the middle of the hectic holiday season -- the new management team will huddle and begin reshaping the department in earnest in mid January, he added.

The positions are already in the city budget, Proctor said. Pay and other details would not be available before Monday because complexities such as department-provided vehicles, health insurance and other benefits have to be worked out.

On the management team, Acting Deputy Chief Nathaniel will join Deputy Chief Wilma Griffin as a permanent assignment. Mark Scott, a captain with the Thomasville Police Department, will fill the third deputy chief role.

Promoted to Captain are Kendra Wilson, Darrin Abner, Benita Childs, Ryan Ward and Reginald Brown. New hire Russell Barnes of Zephyrhills, Fla., also will take a captain's job.

According to reports in the Zephyrhills area, Barnes, who was chief there, faced a termination proceeding over a bookkeeping matter that involved the possible falsification of payroll records of an officer who was under his command. The complaint against Barnes was lodged by a policer officer he had fired, the papers reported in 2008.

Rather go through the legalities, he resigned, Barnes said. He also noted that the Florida Department of Law Enforcement exonerated him and allowed him to keep his law enforcement certification.

Barnes also got letters of reference for jobs from all the Zephyrhills City Council members who were there at the time of his resignation.

Before being hired, Barnes and the other candidates for the jobs with the Albany Police Department were subjected to rigorous testing and background checks by the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police, City Manager Alfred Lott said.

"He could not have gotten through the evaluation by the Georgia Association of Chiefs (of Police) if he was not good," Lott said. "They had no trouble with his background and he will make a good captain here."

After taking the job as chief, Proctor pledged to make the Albany department into a top-notch crime-fighting organization. The new management team is a step in that direction, he said.

"I am satisfied that each of them will work hard to provide the best law enforcement services," Proctor said.

Lott believes Proctor is on the right track.

"These are the best candidates for the job that we have to do. My objective was to give him (Proctor) some help so that somebody else can teach our young lieutenants, sergeants and corporals how to be good police officers," Lott said. "I promise to support you from my end."