One local city has a new top cop in town. Sardis Police Chief Gary Jones will soon serve as the police chief of Harlem.
The small city of Harlem has seen rapid growth over the years. According to the latest Census, the city's population has increased by 50%.
And that means the police have more people to protect – and this man – Gary Jones – will take on that task.
“I am excited about it. It's my hometown. I grew up here as a young teen,” said Gary Harlem's Director of Public Safety, Gary Jones.
“I now reside in Grovetown which is close to Harlem and I am looking forward to serving here,” said Jones.
Jones has served as the Sardis Police Chief for the past 2 years.
He's also served as the interim director for the Augusta YDC.
“I need to improve the morale of the department so the officers have what they need to do their job,” said Jones.
The city of Harlem has gone through several public safety directors over the past few years.
January 2009 – Jerry Baldwin resigns
- Jerry Baldwin resigned in January of 2009 after allegedly stealing thousands of dollars worth of items from a Walmart.
August 2011– Jessie Bowman resigns
- In August of 2011, Jessie Bowman turned in his resignation.
April 2013 –Davis Sward resigns
- And just last week, David Sward called it quits after about 15 months on the job.
“Well I don't think it was the problem of the city. I think the individuals who were here may not have been the right fit,” said Jones.
Jones says he's the right man for the job because he has nearly 30 years in law enforcement, and has worked all over the CSRA.
“I am home grown, I am personable, I understand people's problems and I think I can do the job.”
Jones also plans to introduce the community policing model to Harlem
“It merely means the police are public, and the public are the police. It is forming partnerships with the community so you can develop strategies to solve problems,” said Jones.
The city got a brand new public safety building last year and Jones says he wants to integrate both the fire and police departments, because there are only a dozen employees on the payroll.
No word yet on who will take over Gary Jones' role in Sardis.
His last day with Sardis is next Friday, and he'll start his role as police chief of Harlem on May 6th.