F’ville names interim chief, public safety director

The Fayetteville City Council has put an interim police command team in place until the positions being vacated by Chief Steve Heaton and Maj. Kevin Gooding can be filled.

Captain Scott Pitts on April 19 was appointed as interim police chief while Capt. Jeff McMullan will serve as major, Lt. Chad Myers as patrol division captain and Fire Chief Alan Jones as temporary public service director providing oversight and support to the police and fire departments.

Pitts has more than 21 years of law enforcement experience including 17 years with the Fayetteville Police Department and is certified as an accreditation manager for the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA). Pitts is an accreditation assessor for the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police and is an internal affairs investigator.

Pitts holds the Georgia Peace Officer Training Council (POST) Supervisory Certification and is a graduate of the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police Professional Management Program, the Columbus State University Criminal Justice Certification Program and the FBI Georgia Law Enforcement Executive Development Program, according to Fayetteville City Manager Joe Morton.

Pitts is currently completing his bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from Saint Leo University and plans to continue his education through the Columbus State University Command College Program, Morton said.

McMullan has been appointed as interim major over the patrol division. McMullan has 16 years of law enforcement experience in Fayetteville, is a graduate of the FBI National Academy, a POST-certified instructor and an internal affairs investigator. McMullan holds numerous supervisory and management certifications and has an associate’s degree in Criminal Justice from Georgia Southern University. McMullan plans to continue his education through the Columbus State University Command College Program, Morton said.

And Myers has been appointed as interim captain in the patrol division. Myers has 9 years of law enforcement experience with the department. Myers has an associate’s degree in Criminal Justice and plans to continue his education through the Columbus State University Command College Program, said Morton.

Fire Chief Alan Jones has been appointed interim public safety director responsible for the oversight and administrative support of the Fayetteville Fire and Police departments. Morton noted that the move to establish the interim public safety director is temporary since the position will be removed once the new police chief is hired.

Jones has 25 years of fire service experience with the Fayetteville Fire Department, having served as chief since February 1998. Jones is a graduate of the University of Georgia Management Development Program and has completed numerous continuing education courses in homeland security, emergency management and national incident management. Jones holds an associate’s degree in Political Science from Gordon College and plans to continue his education through the Columbus State University Command College Program.

“The city of Fayetteville mayor and Council and management staff appreciates these departmental members assuming these additional leadership roles and is fully supportive of them and the police department during this transition process,” said Morton.

Both Heaton and Maj. Kevin Gooding earlier this month announced that they would not be staying with the department. Heaton in mid-2012 announced his plan to retire effective this month while Gooding told Heaton last fall that he would be resigning his position. The departure of both police administrators also came at a time when several citizen complaints surfaced that included allegations of a high-stress, hostile work environment. Those complaints are currently under review by an outside investigator.

Pertaining to another issue, the recent termination of an officer by Heaton for insubordination was recently overturned, though the hearing officer noted that Heaton had not been given adequate information upon which to base the termination.

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