Glynn County Police Chiefs

It is an impossible situation. Doering was encouraged to retire. Powell, who had been hired as Director of Public Safety, replaced Doering, supervided a review of departmental deficits and did nothing to correct them. Then Powell was forced to resign while facing charges of having covered up malfeasance. What do we call county officers running off to another state to investigate a tip?

Powell was replaced by an interim and then an emergency management person who left to take a cushier job. Or was it the other way around? Anyway, in the interim Ahmaud Arbery as killed. So, the agitated community was pacified by hiring the, apparently, only black male whot turned out, literally, to be unqualified. His credentials from Louisiana were inadequate for Georgia, so he had to be trained. (Of course, the Director of Community Development Glynn hired, had to be trained, as well.) Now, after a year of full time employment, Battiste has resigned to take a better job.

I am surprised he was only 57 when he was hired. He struck me as a lot older. But, a bit frivolous. A schmoozer. A salesman who’s good at selling himself.

What GPDP needs is a woman to break up the fraternal clique. The County is being sued by three qualified persons who were not even interviewed for the job. Perhaps Bittiste is getting out while the getting is good.

**********
Turns out Battiste is a whining Republican leaving to take a desk job to manipulate corporate CEOs via an eleemosynary enterprise.
https://thebrunswicknews.com/news/local_news/county-police-chief-leaving-for-executive-law-enforcement-role/article_6e635f05-eac1-53c6-9cd8-37ceb68b6c31.html

Re:the departure of Chief Battiste

On Dec 7, 2022 J.R.Smith wrote:

Dear Commissioners:
At the top of the front page in the Brunswick News this morning is the story about the resignation of Jacques Battiste as Chief of the Glynn County Police Department. In the very first sentence of his story, Larry Hobbs tells us that Chief Battiste “said the physical and emotional strain of constant public criticism played a role in his decision to depart”.
I have only one question: what took him so long to quit?
I take no pride in being one of the first to ask questions about your decision to hire him and to comment on some of his statements at the so-called public Q&A session at the Brunswick Public Library in mid-June of 2021 an.
Nor am I proud that I ended my comments and questions after meeting with him in person on July 30th of that year, at which point I decided not to waste further time trying to help him or to help you help him.
Although I stopped criticizing Chief Battiste more than sixteen months ago, I am glad to learn that others seem to have been paying attention to how pitifully unqualified and unprepared he was.
Now I wish our community would begin paying attention to how  unqualified and unprepared you seven commissioners are to give direction to your new county manager (who is now trying to fob off responsibility for giving direction to the next county police chief by having you give him authority to hire a “public safety director” as a firewall between himself and the next police chief).
Below you will find just two of my email messages to you and to Chief Battiste between those two dates spanning about six weeks in June and July of 2021.
Sincerely,
Julian Smith

———————

MY MESSAGE TO WAYNE NEAL AND THE BOC ON 6/17/21 SENT AFTER THE “PUBLIC Q&A SESSION” AT THE THE BRUNSWICK PUBLIC LIBRARY:

Dear County Commission Chairman Neal:

In the second sentence of the front page story in The Brunswick News this morning, you are quoted as saying county commissioners “weren’t blown away by anyone” until they met with Jacques Battiste, “the final candidate” for chief of our county police.

“Blown away” is a particularly unfortunate figure of speech to describe someone who is expected to head a police force in a county where citizens are sometimes blown away quite literally by county police officers and their fellow citizens.

You are then quoted as saying “He proceeded to answer questions the way they should be answered”, but the reporter did not indicate what way that might be. At the county commission meeting this evening, perhaps you might explain exactly what you meant about how questions “should be answered”.

You are also quoted as saying that after hearing those answers “our minds were made up. This man will represent all of Glynn County.” Please remember that only two of the county commissioners are elected to “represent all of Glynn County”. You and four others are elected to represent individual districts.

Perhaps you might confirm at the meeting this evening that you understand unelected county employees do not “represent” any or all of Glynn County.

As for some of the comments attributed to Mr. Battiste in the article this morning, I hope you and the other commissioners who represent us will give the community an opportunity to ask Mr. Battiste questions IN PUBLIC about some of the things he is quoted as saying—and give him an opportunity to explain what he means by such sententious generalizations as:

—“We have to become one community.”
—“Every person looks for respect.”
—“There is always economic imbalance.”
—“As a community prospers, everyone needs to prosper.”

Regarding that last statement, I think you or other county commissioners should ask Mr. Battiste if he really believes that thieves, pimps, drug dealers, and greedy developers need to prosper.

Seriously, I believe the community should be given a chance to ask questions directly of Mr. Battiste. Prior to the “Public Q&A” dog and pony show at the Brunswick Library on Monday evening, I submitted the following question to Mr. Battiste:
“In the event county officials decide the public will not be allowed to ask you unscreened questions or allow you to answer such questions DURING the ‘Public Q&A” session, and in the event members of the public attempt to ask unscreened questions, are you willing to hear and answer those unscreened questions?”

Because my question did not pass through the screening process and was not asked at the Q&A session, and because members of the public were not allowed to ask questions during that session, I gave a copy of it to Mr. Battiste following the session and provided my contact information. He looked at the question and told me he would respond to it by ten o’clock that evening. Three days later, I am still waiting for his response.

I hope you will forward this message to Mr. Battiste.

—————
COMMISSIONERS: I DO NOT KNOW WHETHER OR NOT YOU FORWARDED MY MESSAGE TO BATTISTE, BUT HERE IS A MESSAGE I SENT TO HIM ON 7/22/21 IN RESPONSE TO HIS RESPONSE TO A MESSAGE I SENT TO HIM.

Dear Chief Battiste:

Thank you again for your response to my message this morning. Please be patient and try to understand my comments on your response, which I have copied below. And please understand you are not the first police chief I have helped or tried to help over the last fifty some-odd years (and some of those years were very odd).

You wrote: Good Morning Mr. Smith…I first want to thank you for always being commensurate in checking every syllable that has come from mfy mouth since I initially have said “hello” to the Glynn County community.

–There are several obvious problems in this sentence: First, you have misused the word “commensurate”; that word has nothing to do with whatever it is you are trying to communicate to me. Please try using simpler words.

—You have indulged in a gross overstatement when you “thank” me for “checking every syllable that has come from mfy [sic] mouth since I initially have said ‘hello’ to the Glynn County community.” You must know that is simply not true or possible. Would you, as a police officer, make such obviously false or ridiculous statements or claims like that in court under oath at a trial?

You wrote: I apologize for not responding in a more timely fashion…but surely a man of your great expertise on so many subjects which occur daily in our county.

—You know nothing of what you call my “great experience on so many subjects which occur daily in our county”. More significantly, my comments to you in several messages had to do only with what you have said in public, not with the abstract notion of “subjects which occur daily in our county”. Finally, please note that your sentence above is incomplete. If you do not understand why it is incomplete, ask someone you trust to explain why it is incomplete.

You wrote: Most people allow a new department head at least 60 days to learn their surroundings before the daily “lashings” begin.

—My comments in response to some of your statements, claims, and promises had nothing to do with your “surroundings” but with what you actually said in public, which is why I quoted you. I advise you to avoid generalizations about what “most people” may or may not do. And what, exactly, if anything, do you mean by “daily ‘lashings’”? Is “lashings” a code word? Do you really expect to endure daily “lashings” after you have been here for two months?

You wrote: So instead of these consistent email, I would like to offer you an opportunity to come to the station where we can meet, collaborate, and resolve these minor trivialities that only you seem to be centered on. Kindly schedule a time with my Administrative Assistant Stephanie Colon at
912.554.7800.

—I have no idea what you mean by “these consistent email [sic]”. Do you mean “constant emails”? If so, please note that my emails have been few and infrequent, not many and constant. While I thank you for your offer to meet with me and have scheduled an appointment for July 30th, our meeting will not be helpful for you if you think we can “resolve” what you describe as “minor trivialities”. Some of your claims and promises are far from trivial.

You wrote: I await your visit.

—I’m looking forward to our meeting.

Julian Smith

—————

POSTSCRIPT

Commissioners:

To repeat what I wrote earlier, after meeting with Chief Battiste in late July of 2021, I decided it would be a waste of time trying to help him.

But you wasted valuable time by appointing him and then failing to stop him from making exaggerated claims and promises in public.

You may not have thrown him under the bus, but you seem to have let him play in traffic.

Sincerely,

Julian Smith

Battiste’s claim that “the public needs to be re-educated”

Dear Commissioners:

As a follow-up to my earlier message regarding the departure of Chief Battiste, here is the message I sent him following his address to the Glynn County Republican Women’s Club at Benny’s Red Barn on July 12, 2021.

My subject line refers to a claim Chief Battiste made when he introduced himself to the community at the Brunswick Public Library in June of 2021. I believe his speech a month later to the Republican ladies was an ill-advised effort at re-educating the public.

Did any of you take Chief Battiste aside and explain to him how incredibly inappropriate or questionable some of his comments were at that first meeting?

If none of you did so, is it possible you did not understand how unrealistic and offensive some of his statements were?

Julian Smith

———my 7/12/21 message to Battiste——

Dear Chief Battiste:

I was prepared to ask you just one question at the lunch today at Bennie’s Red Barn, but I waited too long and the moderator cut off questions. Now I will ask some of the many questions I jotted down after [your] Q&A session at the Brunswick Library last month.

Please feel free to save time by responding to any question or comment within the text.

But first: early in your presentation this afternoon, you mentioned the importance of a word I could not hear clearly today or last month. That word was either “civility” or “servility”. Would you please confirm which one it was?

Now back to some of the things you said at the library last month. My questions are based on reviewing the archival video of that event.

—Were you joking when you referred to the Glynn County Police Department “you have come to know and love” and claimed “it’s been run very well so far”?

—Were you being overly optimistic and perhaps unrealistic when you claimed “I want us to become a role-model police department for the rest of the United States” and that “I intend . . . to have the very best educated police officers in the country” and that “they will receive the best education that we can afford”?

—Do you expect the taxpayers and the county commission to help you keep your promise that “we’re going to continue with the recruiting process to bring in at least twenty-five or thirty more officers”?

—Were you serious when you said “the problem is, the public needs to be re-educated” and that “the public is going to have to go through courses on understanding implicit bias”? And if so, how do you intend to re-educate an elderly former college professor like myself?

—Do you intend to check with the county attorney or the local district attorney as to whether or not you were on safe legal ground when you said “I promise . . . I will write every chief, every sheriff, every law enforcement agency in the country to let them know about” Glynn County police officers who were fired or forced to resign after they broke the rules, procedures, and/or protocols you promise to impose?

—On what basis do you refer to Glynn County as “probably one of the most profitable and successful counties in the state of Georgia”? For that matter, why do you expect any county in the United States to be “profitable”?

—After rambling on ominously about what may happen following the trial of the three men charged in the death of Ahmaud Arbery, why did you ask the audience “Did I make sense with that last question?”—and then fail to wait for an answer?

Here is a question I submitted in advance before the library Q&A session that did not survive the screening process: “In the event county officials decide the public will not be allowed to ask you unscreened questions or allow you to answer such questions DURING the ‘Public Q&A’ session, and in the event members of the public attempt to ask unscreened questions, are you willing to hear and answer those unscreened questions?”

Once that meeting back in June was over, I handed you a copy of that question and provided my contact information. You looked at my question and told me you would respond to it by ten o’clock that evening. Almost a month later, I am still waiting for your response.

Respectfully submitted,

Julian Smith