News 12 at 11 o'clock / Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- The Richmond County School System could soon have a new top cop, but that means another city will lose its police chief.
On Tuesday night in committee meetings, the Board of Education approved the recommendation to hire Waynesboro Police Chief Alfonzo Williams for the position. It still needs to be approved by the full board next Thursday, but Chief Williams says he's excited about the recommendation and is ready to go to work.
"It means a great deal to us, to me and my family, to have the board believe in us," Williams said.
"Chief seems like he's in a good position to be here. His background looks good, his education is very good, and I think that's probably the most important reason to put him in the position," added District 6 board member Jack Padgett.
The decision did not come without discussing all the factors, including Williams' relationship with the Richmond County sheriff.
"That was a question that had come up was the idea of would he be accepted in the overall community having supported the guy who didn't win the sheriff's race," Padgett said.
In the end, Williams' background and experience won out. Right now, he is the police chief in Waynesboro. He says that experience will help him if he gets the job with the school system.
"It's all about making the environment safer. As the chief of a municipality , f the schools are safe, if the environment is conducive to learning, we all benefit," Williams said.
Even if there are a lot of differences in a city police department and a school safety department, he says one thing is the same.
"It doesn't make much of a difference, whether you're in a school setting or in a municipality setting, leadership is leadership," Williams said.
As for his plans for the school system he says, "if approved, going into a school setting, we're gonna do proactive policing just as I have done historically. We're gonna put measurements in place to ensure that kids can come and learn. Parents will rest assured knowing that we're on top of what's happening. We're trying to prevent crime rather than respond to it."
The vote to hire Williams was not quite unanimous. District 5 board member Patsy Scott voted no.
Right now, they have seven open positions in the department. They had a few interviews last week and are currently doing background checks on four people. Two of those open positions are for officers in the elementary schools, something the board just approved recently.