Marietta Deputy Chief of Police David Lee, 54, was the sole finalist for the job of police chief.
He beat out 55 other applicants, some from out of state. The position became available when former Chief Stan Hook, the city’s top cop for 22 years, retired.
Lee was hired at $100,000 a year, the same salary as Hook.
City Councilman Ron Fennel, chairman of the city’s public safety committee, said he expected the unanimous confirmation.
Fennel said the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police helped the city find a candidate who satisfied the city’s criteria – superior communication and technology skills, hands-on experience as a police officer and a vision for the future.
“We wanted someone with a training regimen so we have a succession plan and leadership development plan, so if any situation demanded leadership, we had everyone trained to that responsibility,” Fennel said.
While Lee passed a rigorous interview process, his credentials included a home-team advantage of managing Marietta’s prisoners, some of whom were housed at the Smyrna jail.
“The bonus is he knows Cobb County and Smyrna already as deputy chief of a neighboring jurisdiction,” Fennel said. “It’s an advantage in the context of what’s next, what you want to do with the department and what things you count on in your leadership style.”
Lee said he looks forward to working on more community policing, including town halls where residents can ask law enforcement questions, and the use of technology such as CompStat, a crime-mapping program.
“Community policing is a department-wide philosophy. I’ll have to be working toward changing the departmental culture,” he said.
The challenge, Lee said, will be working with 93 officers through the change and getting them all on board. He offered no timeline.
“I don’t know how long it will take. There are so many different variables. You need to buy in,” he said. “It won’t be my project. It will be our project.”
Lee said he has looked into the open internal investigations concerning Cpl. Cleveland McDuffie, who resigned Dec. 21 after his missing files were traced to Polk County, and Officer Darryl Whitfield, who was arrested Nov. 24 on a domestic violence charge.
“I briefly looked at how their process was on internal affairs,” Lee said about the Smyrna police. “It’s done a little bit differently than how I would like it, so I know we’ll be changing that.”
A former U.S. Army military police officer, Lee joined the Marietta police in 1981 and was promoted to deputy chief in 2008.
The North Cobb High School graduate earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice administration and a master of business administration degree with a concentration in public administration, both online, from Columbia Southern University in Orange Beach, Ala.
He lives in Cartersville with his wife, has four adult children and two grandchildren.
He will start work in Smyrna Feb. 4.
New librarian hired
Like Lee, Mary Moore of Huntsville, Ala., was the sole finalist for the position of director of the Smyrna Public Library, replacing 18-year director Michael Seigler, who retired Dec. 28.
She is an award-winning reference and adult services manager for the Huntsville-Madison County Public Library in Huntsville.
Moore, 43, said her credentials included intangible qualities the search committee may have valued highly.
“I hope they saw initiative and a passion for the job. I love libraries,” she said. “I have personally witnessed the positive impact of library services on the lives of all types of people.”
Moore said several factors combined to attract her to the city, including Atlanta-area friends and family, her desire for a new challenge and a late-summer visit.
“The library had a lot to do with my interest. It's a lovely building with a supportive community. I’ve heard great things about the staff as well,” she said.
In addition, she found the environment very attractive, Moore said.
“I was impressed with the Village Green and the city amenities like the parks and walking trails,” she said.
Moore, who cites reading and writing among her hobbies, earned her bachelor’s degree in English and her master’s degree in library science, both from the University of Alabama.
Moore starts her new job Feb. 25.