The City of Savannah is seeking an accomplished and recognized leader for their next Police Chief. The ideal candidate will be someone who possesses strong interpersonal and communication skills. They will engage communities in a meaningful way to create and sustain effective partnerships in the pursuit of reducing crime while building community well-being. The next Police Chief will inspire confidence internally and externally, set and communicate clear objectives, and embrace both personal and organizational accountability.
As America’s first planned city, Savannah boasts historical architecture, luxurious parks, and a government culture that aims to build upon its early success in providing superior planning, infrastructure, and services for its citizens and visitors.
In addition to its assets as a city, Savannah offers great weather, nearby beaches, and a tradition of hospitality and cultural offerings. Savannah is home to a vibrant arts and cultural scene that plays host to over 200 festivals each year focused on a variety of themes including music, food, and film. The growing Savannah Music Festival has garnered international acclaim as performers from Savannah and all over the world showcase talent in a variety of musical genres. The city is committed to promoting numerous festivals and special events throughout the year and is particularly known for its St. Patrick’s Day celebration.
Savannah’s warm weather allows participation in outdoor activities year-round. The city has more than 100 public recreational neighborhood parks, 13 swimming pools, more than 70 athletic fields, more than 75 basketball courts, 50 tennis courts, world-class golf facilities, and a marina. For boating, fishing, and swimming enthusiasts, Savannah offers marinas throughout the 420 miles of navigable waters and 87,000 acres of tidal marshland, as well as the 161- mile Intracoastal Waterway. Tybee Island is Savannah’s nearest public beach and is located approximately 20 minutes east of the downtown area. With its well-preserved history, fascinating architecture, natural beauty, unique squares, and mild climate, Savannah is a splendid spot for sightseeing. We boast the nation’s largest National Historic Landmark District.
With over 146,000 year-round residents, the population of Savannah also includes the 10th largest school district in Georgia, the Savannah-Chatham County School System, with nearly 36,000 students across 64 schools and a multitude of private schools. Savannah receives superior marks in the field of higher education, with four colleges and universities offering bachelor’s, master’s, and professional or doctoral degree programs: Georgia Southern University Armstrong Campus, Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), Savannah State University, and South University. With six distinct historic districts, coastal beaches, and a globally recognized food and art scene, tourism is a major driver in the economy.
Savannah has a growing economy consisting of the fourth largest seaport in the United States, vibrant tourist attractions, regional medical services, two military bases, International Paper, Gulfstream Aerospace, and a recent $5.5 billion regional economic deal — the largest in Georgia history — to build a Hyundai Motors plant with over 8,000 employees.
Savannah is a charter city operating under a council-manager form of government. The City Manager is the city’s Chief Executive Officer, who is responsible for implementing the Mayor and Council’s policies, directing the city’s business and administrative operations, and appointing departmental officers, including the Police Chief. The City of Savannah employs over 2,400 full-time workers across 26 separate departments, with an adopted fiscal year (FY) 2022 budget of $479,391,561.
The Mayor, six District Alderpersons, and two At-large Alderpersons comprise Savannah’s City Council. Five strategic priorities guide City Council’s focus in FY 2022 — namely public safety, infrastructure, vibrant neighborhoods, economic strength and poverty reduction, and good government. Enhancing data capabilities and transparency fall under the city’s “good government” initiatives.
Public safety goals include improvements to Priority 1 call response, reduction in Part 1 violent crimes, ensuring residents feel safe in their neighborhoods, and enhancing basic life support and advanced life support services.
Police Department and Position Overview:
The Savannah Police Department is a full-service agency with an authorized strength of 536 sworn officers and 90 administrative staff members. The current command structure from the rank of Lieutenant to Chief comprises 36 positions. The Police Chief reports directly to the City Manager and serves as a key member of the Executive Leadership Team.
The department has a robust Criminal Investigation Division of eight different units specializing in specific major crimes, intelligence, and forensics. Front-line policing services are distributed through four precinct offices (Northwest, Southside, Eastside, and Central). The department also operates 16 specialized services units that operate citywide, including Canine, Traffic Enforcement, Mounted Patrol, and Crisis Intervention to name a few.
The FY 2022 budget for the Savannah Police Department is $64,824,553. To enhance recruitment and retention of officers, the city recently approved pay and entry incentives for first responders, including a starting annual salary of $50,000 and a variety of sign-on, retention, and lateral entry bonuses. In recent years, the department has made strategic investments in new police vehicles and mobile data units. The department operates its own training facility.
The Police Chief is responsible for overall direction of the operations and personnel of the police department. In that capacity, the Police Chief will oversee the planning and implementation of a broad array of programs and services. The Police Chief is also responsible for strategic planning and implementing directives from the City Manager.
The Police Chief will create a culture of excellence by recruiting, selecting, and training well-educated, critical-thinking, and diverse officers by promoting intensive training programs, coaching and mentoring staff, increasing the department’s capacity to effectively manage conflict, and promoting and championing a system of continuous improvement.
The Police Chief creates and models an ethical organizational culture through a personal commitment to fairness and equity in all their responsibilities and especially in the enforcement of policy infractions. The Police Chief will demonstrate ethical leadership by modeling behaviors of honesty, credibility, reliability, and trustworthiness.
The Police Chief is responsive, attentive, and sensitive to the diverse, and sometimes critical, changing voices in the community, and the police department and will take appropriate actions as required.
The Police Chief partners with the Office of Neighborhood Safety, city officials, and citizens in the development of innovative programs and projects that are shown to be effective in reducing crime and promoting safe and healthy communities.
It is also critical that the Police Chief maintains effective working relationships with other departments, governmental agencies, and private organizations.
Key Position Priorities:
Developing collaborative and innovative ways to reduce serious crime and gun violence.
A four-year college degree is required. A master’s degree in police administration, law enforcement, or related field is preferred — along with 10 years of experience, which includes at least six years in senior-level police management (Captain and above) or any equivalent combination of education, training, and experience. Successful completion of specialized police leadership education — such as the Senior Management Institute for Police (SMIP), FBI National Academy, or the Southern Police Institute — is highly desired for this position.
The successful candidate must have completed the Georgia POST certification prior to being sworn into the position and completing the Georgia Association of Police Chiefs’ online leadership course within the first six months of employment as Chief of Police. More information on Georgia POST requirements can be found at https://www.gapost.org/postAct/35820_1.html.
The successful candidate has a demonstrated track record of achievement and has:
Knowledge of modern and complex principles and practices of law enforcement.
The successful candidate attributes will include:
A long-term commitment and open mindset in forming a genuine understanding of the communities of Savannah.
Salary and Benefits:
The salary range is $170,000 to $195,000 per year commensurate with qualifications and experience, along with excellent benefits. The City of Savannah offers a competitive package of fringe and health benefits. Relocation expenses would be considered.
The City of Savannah solicited public engagement through focus groups and a survey to formulate the search criteria of the next Police Chief. As part of the process, a public engagement report will be available to the community and each candidate. In addition, the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) will use these criteria to identify and recruit a pool of qualified candidates that reflect the needs of Savannah.
Qualified and interested candidates should apply by Friday, October 14, 2022, with a cover letter, résumé, and a list of five references, in confidence to:
The Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) is assisting the City of Savannah with the selection process. Please contact Terry Chowanec (email@example.com) , Charlotte Lansinger (firstname.lastname@example.org), or Rebecca Neuburger (email@example.com) with any questions.
Savannah is an Equal Opportunity Employer.
For more information, please view the full position PDF at: https://www.policeforum.org/assets/Savannah%20pdf.pdf