During the Jan. 7, City of Hinesville Council meeting the Mayor and Council voted unanimously on appointing Lloyd Slater as the City’s New Chief of Police. The voting occurred after the Council and Mayor re-convened into public forum following an executive session.
Slater, was selected to serve as the Acting Police Chief earlier this month when former Chief Bill Kirkendall resigned effective Jan. 1.
Slater is the first African American to hold the post of Hinesville’s Police Chief. He started his career at HPD 34 years ago as a patrol officer and worked his way up the ranks, including 29 years of supervisory experience with the HPD, according to a release issued by the City.
“Chief Slater has deep roots in our community and has all of the skills necessary to successfully lead HPD in its ongoing efforts to make our city safer,” City Manager Kenneth Howard said. “I have confidence that Chief Slater will lead our police force with a high level of integrity and ethics.”
Originally from Brooklyn, N.Y., Slater enlisted in the United States Army following his graduation from high school. He was assigned to one of America’s most elite military units, the 1st Ranger Battalion.
After completing his final assignment in Europe, Slater returned to the U.S. and Georgia’s warm climate, where he has spent his life living, working and raising a family in Hinesville.
During his tenure with HPD, Slater earned a bachelor’s degree in business management from Western Governors University and a Master’s degree in public safety administration from Columbus State University. Slater also became one of few executives in this region to graduate from the Georgia Law Enforcement Command College.
“I’m humbled by the opportunity to serve you in this role; I take my obligation very seriously to do all I can to make Hinesville a safe and thriving place to live. Fortunately, I have a great team backing me up, full of dedicated professionals who are committed to serving our citizens by fostering proactive, positive community relationships,” Slater said.
As the new Chief of Police for HPD, Slater will direct a staff of approximately 100 employees and maintain responsibility of providing professional law enforcement services to all citizens of Hinesville.
Slater said he has specific goals and programs he wants to achieve and implement. He noted he is working on submitting those in writing to Howard for discussion and approval.
One goal he did talk about is improving the relationship between the officers and the residents of the community.
“Infuse the community into the police department,” Slater said. “I’m for more transparency. There are a lot of misconceptions out there and as a result of which…you have social media putting out a lot of misinformation…you do have main stream media that has a certain amount of time to put out information, but it is not putting out the total message. That is why there is this mistrust. They are only getting parts and pieces of what actually happens here. I’d like to invite the community to get more into this…there is a process to get ahead and do that and one of those processes will be a citizen review board.”
Slater said improving HPD’s transparency and communication with the public will allow him to’ “Hopefully we can build bridges between the community and the police department.”
He said the Department and the City will continue to utilize their social media accounts to keep the community informed. He said HPD will continue to work with all the local law enforcement agencies saying that communication and cooperation between departments is beneficial in policing the community.
The newly appointed Chief said they would like to continue offering the Citizens Police Academy once the current COVID-19 pandemic is lessened.
The City will host an official swearing-in ceremony for the new Police Chief at a later date.