School Board defends hiring new police chief - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

School Board defends hiring new police chief

August 9, 2005

Albany-- There are concerns surrounding not only how the Dougherty County School Board chose a new police chief, but also whether the newly hired chief is qualified.

Monday night, the board unanimously approved the hiring of Troy Conley, who's currently a captain with the Dougherty County Police Department. Last week, school officials said the quote "selection process" was still underway and they named no finalists for the positions.

On top of that, the issue of hiring a police chief wasn't even on the agenda for last night's school board meeting, until minutes before the meeting began.

The search for a police chief to head a newly formed Dougherty County School System Police Department began in May, after the Albany Police could no longer supply school resource officers.

Last Thursday when we asked Deputy Superintendent Carlos Keith to update us on security department, this is what he said. "Right now, we're in the process of hiring a chief for the police department," he said. "We have not hired a chief yet. We're looking at applicants and going through that selection process."

That selection process ended suddenly last night when board members hired Troy Conley, a veteran DCP captain. We immediately questioned whether the issue fell under a Georgia law requiring local governments, like the school system, release the names of the finalists 14 days before a candidate is hired.

But School System Attorney Tommy Coleman says the information was available but no one formally requested it. "The board I don't think is required to go out and buy an advertisement to tell you we've got these records available for public inspection. It's up to the media to actually request them off us, or any private citizen who wants to."

Another concern is Conley's credentials. Captain Troy Conley obtained a degree from an online college that's not accredited by the U.S. Department of Education.

Coleman says the law doesn't require a school police chief have a four-year degree, and above that, the board felt Conley was the best candidate for the job. "This guy was interviewed by fire police chiefs, that weren't from Dougherty County and he got the highest rating by each one of them. This isn't a teaching position, you don't have to worry about the degrees in the same way. "

Conley's salary was set at $65,000 a year. He will now begin hiring 16 officers. We tried to talk to with Troy Conley today, but he didn't return our calls.

Feedback: news@walb.com

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