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Jalon Heard appointed to Cordele Chief of Police

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Published: May. 4, 2022 at 6:52 PM EDT
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CORDELE, Ga. (WALB) - There’s a new top cop in town for Cordele. On Tuesday, Jalon Heard was appointed as the new chief of police.

When former Chief Mike Hathaway resigned, Heard put in a two-week notice for his resignation too. However Wednesday, Chief Heard is in a new role and looks to be a stabilizing force for the department.

Cordele Police Department has had multiple resignations over the past year
Cordele Police Department has had multiple resignations over the past year(WALB)

When asked why he ultimately drew back his resignation letter he said, “I didn’t want to leave them hanging. I didn’t want to leave the police department in shambles. People would come up to me, employees. Even people in the public would come up to me randomly and just say how they supported me and really wanted me to stay.”

Chief Heard has a military background and 15 years of experience with police but has spent less than a year in Cordele. He wants to start in his role by meeting Cordele residents and businesses.

“Our police department can only do so much without the community. I know there have been some negative interactions with police in the past and I want to build a positive community connection,” Heard said.

Chief Heard also wants to do this to better protect the small community. A few business owners in Cordele say they didn’t know about Heard and they are trying to stay away from what they call the drama and chaos that has come along with it.

Melissa Haugabrook is a hairdresser in downtown Cordele. She tells me that her business relies on her trust in law enforcement.

Chief Heard says he wants to meet business owners to better protect the community
Chief Heard says he wants to meet business owners to better protect the community(WALB)

“As a business owner, having that stability in a community is something that we need. We are in dire need of it with all of the crime that is going on,” Haugabrook said.

As a parent, she has gained perspective on law enforcement.

“We have a child that is growing up in this community, so we to pay attention more. We need to be all about it,” she said.

Charlotte Dobbs works for Empowerment Pathways Youthbuild, an organization aimed at helping people get their GED, college diploma, or simply a job.

She says she’s looking forward to meeting Chief Heard.

“I’m just ecstatic that we’ve got somebody there that’s new, fresh, and open-minded to change. They have a fresh view, a fresh take on things. We welcome them to see what’s going on with the program itself,” Dobbs said.

Heard says he looks to meet with more business owners like Haugabrook to see their problems and how the police department can help.

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