Tracy McFadden has resigned as Walthourville police chief, he said Tuesday.
“Effective (Monday), I departed from the city of Walthourville Police Department,” he said in a news release. “First, I would like to thank the citizens of Walthourville for the opportunity to serve as chief of police. Since my tenure with the Police Department since 2010, I led with integrity and represented with honesty, trust and equality as well as provided around-the-clock police protection for the Walthourville community. God has opened more doors for greater opportunities, and I am truly humbled by the opportunity to serve the community.”
Mayor Daisy S. Pray did not return messages seeking comment on the city’s plans to seek a replacement for McFadden.
Cathy Sapp, special agent-in-charge of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s Statesboro office, said Tuesday afternoon that McFadden recently asked the GBI to investigate allegations of impropriety by a Walthourville police officer. She could not elaborate, saying the agency just received the case this week.
McFadden declined to comment, citing the ongoing investigation, but he did say it had nothing to do with his decision to resign.
McFadden was named the city’s second police chief in February 2012. He replaced Terry J. Harget, who was the first chief when the Police Department was created in 2009, according to previous Coastal Courier reports.
He came to Walthourville’s attention while he was still interim police chief, in January 2012, when he led the search for a youngster who had gone missing from his family’s home and later was found dead in a nearby canal.
He also had to deal with the arrest of one of his own police officers on a sexual-assault charge in September 2013. At the time, the GBI said the arrest stemmed from a traffic stop.
“As police chief, anytime a citizen’s complaint was received concerning an officer, a full and thorough investigation was conducted and the appropriate actions were taken, whether founded or unfounded, and the citizens were given updates concerning the outcome,” McFadden said. “There are many other (accomplishments) to mention; however, as a leader, I count it a great opportunity to make a difference in the lives of those I encountered and consider it a privilege to lead with integrity.”
McFadden said there currently is not an interim chief running the department; however, he expects Lt. Wade Long to handle the department’s daily operations until a permanent chief is appointed. McFadden said he will be available to provide assistance if needed to ensure the incoming chief has a smooth transition.
McFadden, a Reidsville native, also had served in the Reidsville Police Department, Toombs County Sheriff’s Office, Paulding County Marshals Office and the Office of Homeland Security/Georgia Emergency Management Agency in Atlanta.
On Tuesday, McFadden did not indicate any plans to continue his law-enforcement career.
“My departure at the Walthourville Police Department is due to personal reasons, and I look forward to spending much-needed time with my family,” he said in the news release.
He pointed to what he called “a great number of accomplishments” during his more-than-four-year tenure in Walthourville. Among them were implementing the ability to pay tickets online, establishing electronic reporting for the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report, having all officers wear body cameras and implementing a digital-photo-reporting program that allowed officers to attach photographs to their incident reports.
He added that he worked “harmoniously” with the city’s senior-citizen organization and purchased two new fully equipped Dodge Chargers for the police vehicle fleet.
McFadden said he also was proud to set “the standard of leadership by displaying equality for all” despite facing many challenges while he led the Police Department.
“Although there were budget restraints, I maximized the available resources to the fullest extent in order to keep the department afloat with the allocated funds,” he said. “It can be duly noted, as agency head, I improved the community-policing philosophy by ensuring our officers maintained an open dialogue with our citizens to better serve and protect the community.”