F’ville appoints its 1st homegrown chief in 25 years
Scott Pitts last week became Fayetteville’s police chief after serving since April in an interim capacity. Pitts brings with him a management philosophy that promotes ownership of the department by every officer.
It has been 25 years since a Fayetteville chief has been hired internally. That changed last week when Pitts was pinned with the chief’s badge at a meeting of the Fayetteville City Council. The meeting was also the occasion where Maj. Jeff McMullan assumed his rank on a permanent basis.
Pitts has more than 21 years in law enforcement, including 17 years with the Fayetteville department.
“Coming up from within the ranks I was there working traffic in the rain in the middle of the night and writing reports. It’s important for me to remember what it’s like,” Pitts said Monday. “And it’s important to know how the decisions we make will effect supervisors and officers.”
Among other activities undertaken during his interim position, Pitts talked with a number of officers to learn about their individual goals in law enforcement. Doing so is in line with the new chief’s outlook on management, one where he wants to have officers take ownership of the department.
“It’s the city’s police department but it’s also my department and it’s each one of ours,” Pitts said. “You care for and take care of what’s yours. And with ownership comes responsibility.”
Pitts said the input of officers is important now and will continue to be important as the future unfolds.
Another aspect of his management perspective deals with how issues are resolved, preferring to have issues handled at the lowest level possible.
“Officers are trusted to be able to do the job they’re accountable for,” Pitts said. “If (resolving) the issue is within their job description, that’s what they should do. They have that authority.”
Since becoming interim chief there have been several initiatives undertaken by the department.
“At the Fayette Pavilion, there have been more blue lights and traffic enforcement activities, especially on the parkway.” said Pitts. “We’ve reinforced the partnership with the management of the pavilion. They’ve hired an off-duty officer to work 8-hour shifts during the evenings seven days a week.”
Another change at the Pavilion to increase visibility includes having roll call at the police station on Pavilion Parkway.
The department during the summer began using license plate reader cameras to trigger alerts for vehicles involved in crimes or whose owner is in violation of a law. With four units now in operation, Pitts said the data recorded by the cameras from passing vehicles is kept for 14 days locally and for 180 days by California-based Vigilant Solutions. Until recently, data was stored locally for no more than 31 days and was retained by Vigilant for one year.
Citing a recent development, Pitts said department is the recipient of a $10,000 state grant for DUI testing.
The new chief said he is also maintaining and reinforcing relationships with local law enforcement agencies along with state agencies and those in other jurisdictions.
The new chief called Maj. Jeff McMullan an asset to the department and the city. Beyond his knowledge and experience, and due to McMullan’s graduation from the Federal Bureau of Investigation National Academy, Pitts said that affiliation provides the department with the ability to access FBI resources if needed.
Pitts is certified as an accreditation manager with the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA), an accreditation assessor with the Ga. Association of Chiefs of Police and is an internal affairs investigator. He holds a Ga. Peace Officers Training Council (P.O.S.T.) Supervisory Certification. Pitts is also the recipient of numerous law enforcement certifications, including the Ga. Bureau of Investigation Executive Development Program.