City, Chief Younger part ways - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

City, Chief Younger part ways

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By Jennifer Emert - bio | email

December 22, 2008

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - The city ended what's been a rocky three year relationship with Chief James Younger in a farewell celebration Monday.

Chief Younger turned in his resignation last month after meeting with city leaders who told him improvements needed to be made. Today the chief talked about what he's accomplished over the last three years, and where he'd like the see the department go in the future.

 If it was one thing everyone agreed on as the city and Albany Police Department said goodbye to Chief James Younger it was his commitment to excellence.

"He had an open door policy, encouraged everyone to come up and speak to him to see what kind of skills and talent they may have," said Wes Smith, Assistant Albany City Manager.

For the first time in ten years, Younger brought the department to full force. "That had to be done by putting the right people in recruiting. People who are enthusiastic, people who truly had an interest, people who truly believe in the department."

Another success, the Tactical Gang Unit. Recently two burglary suspects were arrested seconds after their crime thanks to the units predictions of crime trends and increased patrols in those areas. Younger considers his biggest accomplishment the department's Rapid Response Training.

"That has put officers in a position in an organized fashion to respond be able to respond to critical emergencies so I thinks that's one of the most significant things that we've done in terms of public safety," said Younger.

Younger would like to see the department continue programs like the Americorps Cadets, that act as an extension of the department in terms of outreach.

"The number on thing he told us is to be accountable for your own actions and the customer service thing he talked about earlier, to treat everyone as you would yourself," said Americorps Cadet Jerrold Hurston.

As awards were handed out to both Younger and departing Deputy Chief Stephen Haynes, city leaders turn their attention to the qualities they want in a new chief.

 "Clearly we want somebody who will fit into our community, someone who has strong leadership capacity, the ability to keep the organization moving," said Smith.

Applications for the position will be accepted through January fourth.  The Georgia Chief's Association will help the city narrow the list of candidates to between five and seven.

Those candidates will be put through two days of technical assessment. Chief Younger's final day as chief will be December 31st.

Deputy Chief Wilma Griffin will serve as acting chief until a replacement is hired.

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