The Ludowici City Council on Tuesday appointed Robert Poppell as the city’s new police chief. In the past 2½ years, four different people have led the department — T.J. Gaskin, James Rogers Sr., James Steiner and now Poppell.
Mayor James Fuller said it’s regrettable the police department experiences high turnover with the chief’s position, but two of the chiefs did resign, and Steiner requested a reassignment. Fuller said Poppell, who was hired by the LPD earlier this year and quickly was promoted to captain, has been doing a good job at the department and the mayor expects he’ll be a good chief.
“It’s been tough with our chief of police situation, but Chief Poppell has been doing good, and I see no reason why he won’t continue doing a good job as our chief,” Fuller said.
Poppell, a lifelong Long County resident, was hired a by the Ludowici Police Department as a dispatcher in 2004. He obtained his police-officer certification in 2008 and was hired as a deputy by the Long County Sheriff’s Office shortly after graduation. While at the sheriff’s office, Poppell was a patrolman and obtained the rank of sergeant. He said he appreciated his time at the sheriff’s office and speaks highly of the man who hired him.
“I am not ashamed to say that I had a good trainer in the late and great Sheriff Cecil Nobles,” Poppell said.
After leaving the sheriff’s office, he was hired by the LPD in 2014 and quickly was promoted to the rank of captain to head up the department’s investigations. As a member of the department, Poppell also served as its interim chief. He said he will not change who he is or how he does things now that he is head of the department.
“First and foremost, I am one of you and I believe a badge or title shouldn’t change who you are as a person. I will be the same today as I was yesterday and am tomorrow,” Poppell said.
He said he’ll do everything he can to help his subordinates at the police department and support them in all of their endeavors.
“I believe persons who are in higher positions should do what they can to help others instead of overlook them,” he said.
Poppell said that with all the recent leadership changes in the police department, he is eager to bring some stability to the office.
“I look forward, during my term as chief, to bringing order and stability back to the police department and staying away from all of the recent negative publicity. If there is any problem that I can help you with, I encourage you to call or come by,” he said.
The new chief said he supports several law-enforcement and civic organizations, including the Georgia Sheriff’s Association, National Law Enforcement Officer’s Memorial Fund, Disabled American Veterans and the National Rifle Association.