SAVANNAH, Ga. – Hours after finding out Savannah Chatham County Metro Police Chief Jack Lumpkin was calling it quits, Savannah city leaders spoke to News 3 about their reactions and where they see the city going from here.
On Friday, Lumpkin’s resignation was announced and his next move would be work in DeKalb County as its new deputy chief operating officer of public safety.
The announcement comes the day after Savannah approved its new budget which includes enhancements to the police department which is also weeks away from its demerger come Feburary 1.
Many city leaders praised Lumpkin for his integrity and work ethic.
“Ultimately he was here to fight crime and not fight politics,” Savannah Alderman Van Johnson said. “I’m not mad at him. I can understand why he’d want to go on to a better opportunity and hopefully less politics than he faces here,” Johnson said. “You think he left because of politics,” Reporter Meredith Stutz asked. “I think he left because it was a wonderful opportunity to work for a sound person like [DeKalb County] CEO Mike Thurmond who’s well known and respected,” Johnson responded.
While speaking to Mayor Eddie DeLoach, WSAV asked if the void of a police chief on the dawn of a new era for the new Savannah Police Department poses a threat to public safety.
“Doesn’t mean anything. We have a police force that’s in place and we have a police force that can take care of the situation whether the chief is there or not. We have two qualified assistant chiefs that will do a great job and in his absence and we’ll move forward to find that new police chief,” DeLoach said. “We’ve got to establish a police chief sooner or later so this is our opportunity to move this process up sooner.”
Those two assistance chiefs have been a part of the chief’s command staff two months to the day of Lumkpin’s resignation announcement. Mayor DeLoach says there is now a nationwide search underway to fill Lumkpin’s position.
Lumpkin’s resignation is set for January 22.
WSAV reached out to SCMPD to speak with the chief but is waiting for a response.
WSAV will stay on this story and update our website with any developments.