Sylvester police chief resigns after less than a year; search for replacement begins

Search for new Sylvester police chief begins as current chief resigns

SYLVESTER, Ga. (WALB) - A South Georgia police chief is resigning after serving less than a year.

WALB was told Sylvester Police Chief Raymond Drennen’s last day will be July 26. The mayor said the city manager will launch a search for a new police chief immediately.

Drennen resigned Monday after he was named police chief less than a year ago.

The mayor and council members said Drennen’s resignation came as a surprise.

At Monday night’s meeting a resident spoke out about the cities involvement with the police department. He expressed allegations of micromanagement from council members.

“Say what you want to say, I don’t have no control over the police department," said council member Larry Johnson.

Larry Johnson is a councilman for the City of Sylvester. (Source: WALB)
Larry Johnson is a councilman for the City of Sylvester. (Source: WALB)

"Oh oh oh oh oh, I think you’re wrong about that,” said the concerned resident in response.

This concerned citizen spoke at Monday's council meeting. (Source: WALB)
This concerned citizen spoke at Monday's council meeting. (Source: WALB)

It's something the council's heard before.

“We don’t want you Councilman Johnson and Councilman [Melvin] Powell tying the police hands and not allowing them to do their job,” the resident said.

The concerned resident continued to express his complaints about the noise at Shipp Park, but it led to something bigger.

“So we don’t want you or Councilman Powell trying to micromanage the police department. Get a city manager that you can micromanage, stay in your lane,” the resident said.

“He going to sit up here and attack me about some lying. You don’t even have the facts,” said Council Member Melvin Powell.

Melvin Powell is a councilman for the City of Sylvester. (Source: WALB)
Melvin Powell is a councilman for the City of Sylvester. (Source: WALB)

Here’s a fact; allegations of micromanaging from council members have come up before.

It just so happens, Drennen submitted his letter of resignation Monday. We don’t know if micromanaging impacted Drennen’s decision.

Johnson said he thinks it was a personal choice.

“I don’t think it had anything to do with the city of Sylvester,” said Johnson.

“It was kind of a surprise to me, I didn’t know anything about his intentions to resign,” explained Mayor Bill Yearta.

Bill Yearta is the mayor of Sylvester. (Source: WALB)
Bill Yearta is the mayor of Sylvester. (Source: WALB)

Yearta didn’t want to comment on what happened in the meeting but said he plans to look into it.

“I’m aware of some of the things that happen, but I would like to look into that more,” said Yearta.

Some could say there is a disconnect between the city and the concerned resident.

“Nobody in this city should think they are above the law, including myself,” the resident said.

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