Gary Owens is the new director of public safety in Grovetown. (WRDW-TV / June 20, 2012)
News 12 at 6 o'clock / Wednesday, June 20, 2012
GROVETOWN, Ga. -- There's a new man in charge in Grovetown.
Public Safety Director Gary Owens has been appointed to take the place of former chief Al Robinson, who resigned amid a private investigation about misconduct last month.
Chief Owens has spent years as the department's number two, but now he's Grovetown's top cop.
"We're trying to get the department some morale levels up, to get some motivation going, but not just in the department but in the citizens, the community," he said.
Owens is no stranger to this department or this city.
"When I was like 16 years old, I was hired to wash police cars on the weekend," he said. "It's always been that hometown, that good feeling, when you pull into the city limits, you're like ... I'm home."
One service important to Owens is continuing Project Safe House, which places posters with a smiling daisy in the window of about 25 homes around Grovetown. If a child needs help, they know they can come to one of these safe homes.
"If there's something bad in the neighborhood or if they're scared, or something happens and they're lost, they see that daisy in the window and they know that's a safe place to be," Owens said.
Owens is excited about where Public Safety is headed. Construction is almost done on a second $1.2 million facility.
With homes being built left and right, growth is a constant battle in Grovetown.
"They make a joke all the time about the city limits being on wheels, and every night we push it out just a little bit further. That's good. I like that. That means this community is growing," he said.
But with more people comes more crime. Just last week, investigators arrested four people in an undercover drug sting, and they're looking for one more.
"We had an undercover officer that was a Grovetown officer go in and make purchases and those are things that we're going to continue doing," Owens said. "There's a few little bad apples and we're going to weed our apples out and we'll take care of business."
And Owens wants people to know his door is always open.
"It's their city. We just manage it and make sure everything is the way it should be," he said.
Grovetown is also adding a K-9 unit to the squad. It will be 100 percent paid for with grant money.
If you'd like to be a part of Project Safe House, contact the police department. You have to go through a background check and application process, but they are looking for more volunteers.
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