Statesboro Police Deputy Chief Rob Bryan announced Thursday he is withdrawing his application seeking to be selected as the city’s next police chief.
Bryan has served as the interim chief for the past nine months since former public safety director Wendell Turner left for another position. There was no police chief position while Turner served as public safety director; the position was eliminated when Turner was hired, touted as a move to save the city money.
Bryan said in a statement released Thursday he feels the city will be better served by someone with an outside perspective. His withdrawal leaves the field of applicants at 20, with eight candidates being from Georgia and the other 12 hailing from nine different states, according to Statesboro Human Resources Director Jeff Grant.
“Earlier this week, I met with Interim City Manager (Robert) Cheshire and requested that my application packet for the Statesboro Police Chief search be pulled from consideration,” Bryan said. “This decision came after much thoughtful consideration and prayer. After serving as the city's interim police chief for the last nine months, I truly believe that the Statesboro Police Department would be best served by having someone from the outside bring in a fresh approach in leading our department.”
Cheshire still serves as the city manager until Sept. 1, when newly-hired Statesboro City Manager Randy Wetmore plans to step into the role. Wetmore is expected to make the decision regarding the hiring of a new police chief.
“Interim Police Chief Rob Bryan told me yesterday that he had asked to be removed from the search for Statesboro’s next police chief,” Statesboro Mayor Jan Moore said Thursday. “When he shared his reasons with me, it reinforced what I already felt about Chief Bryan - that he puts the good of the citizens of Statesboro and its police department before his own career aspirations and personal desires.”
Bryan will remain in his current position as deputy chief, she said.
“I truly love the city of Statesboro and the Statesboro Police Department, and only want what is best for both,” Bryan said. “I look forward to working with and supporting our new chief of police once the selection is announced, and I am excited about this new chapter for our department.”
Moore said she respects Bryan’s honesty.
“He recognized the need for change and a new vision within our police department, and knew that he was not the person to provide that at this time,” she said. “In my mind, that is leadership – knowing when taking one step back is really taking two steps forward.”
Bryan said he appreciates the opportunity to serve as interim chief.
“While this decision was a difficult one, I believe it is best for our department (and) our community as well as myself,” he said. “I want to thank everyone for their support during my tenure as Statesboro's interim police chief, and I look forward to continuing to serve our department and community.”
Bryan was the first active-duty officer to serve in a chief position, albeit interim, sine Turner’s hiring in 2010. That is when the public safety director position, while never officially acknowledged by the city, took over supervision of the police and fire departments and the chiefs positions for those departments were eliminated. However, the fire chief position was late reinstated, with Chief Tim Grams serving under Turner’s supervision.
Turner served in the public safety director position although there was never a formal public safety department created. Turner left Statesboro in October to accept a position as captain of the Canton Police Department’s support services division. After he left, the City of Statesboro eliminated the public safety director position and re-established the police chief position before soliciting applications for that position.
“I thank Chief Bryan for his service as interim chief, and I am very glad that he wants to remain with the Statesboro Police Department,” Moore said Thursday. “He truly is a public servant.”
The field of applications for Statesboro police chief is expected to be narrowed soon as finalists are selected for further review.
Herald reporter Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 489-9414.