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Slater hangs up the badge from HPD
Chief retires after more than 37 years on the job
Slater retires
Hinesville Mayor pro tem Vicky Nelson hands a memento to Lloyd Slater, who retired Friday as Hinesville police chief.

After serving nearly four decades with the City of Hinesville police department, Chief Lloyd Slater has hung up his uniform.

In a ceremony that lasted an hour inside the city council chambers, Slater was recognized for his service to the department, in which he served in many positions.

“Chief, it is a sad occasion for us but I know you are going to start a new chapter in your life,” Council member and mayor pro tem Vicky Nelson said. “We appreciate what you have done for our city. You have been very methodical in bringing ideas to us that we have implemented.

Incoming Chief Tracey Howard spoke of his friendship and partnership with Slater. He recognized Slater’s achievement of becoming the first African-American to hold the position.

“I have had the honor of serving for 37 years,” Slater said at his retirement ceremony. “It has been an experience. It really has been. But when you stay with an entity that long, there must be something good about it. It’s been a supportive community and the city council has been very supportive of my position as chief of police. I couldn’t ask for more.”

Slater has been chief for the past three years. Howard also told the story when Slater shared his office with a deer that crashed into his office through a window, leaving his office in shambles.

Slater, though, hopes his legacy is more than that. He pointed to the department’s motto of “nothing less than exceptional.”

“Hopefully I have been that and have inspired that,” Slater said.

The outgoing chief also brought in two changes late in his tenure. One was a redesign of the department’s badge and the other was the introduction of public safety support specialists.

With a number of vacancies that were hard to fill on the force, Slater turned to the public safety support specialists idea to help bridge a gap as the community grows but the number of police personnel isn’t keeping pace.

“Is it a matter of recruitment? Is it a matter of retention? Is it generational?” he asked of the fewer number of people wanting to join police departments. “Even with our community growing and our police department shrinking, how do we go and manage public safety. One of the best ways to do that is with a police paraprofessional. Someone who is not necessarily a sworn officer but can handle some of the misdemeanor calls. We look forward to that progress in the future as well.”

The badge redesign, Slater said, is the first in 86 years for the department and it will more accurately represent the agency, he added.

Slater also pointed to the police department’s smartphone app, which debuted last year.

“We are very proud of the HPD’s app,” he said. “It’s one of the best in the country. It is very informative and very representative of this community.”

Slater was presented with gifts from the city council, fire department, and a pair of handcuffs by Mayor pro tem Nelson.

Slater now has a new title — Lloyd Slater, civilian. While he considers what his plans for his post-law enforcement career are, he insisted he will remain active in the community.

“I have retirement coming up and it will give me time to think about what I want to do,” he said.

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