Certification wait delays swearing in Georgia police chief

BRUNSWICK, Ga. (AP) — A county in coastal Georgia had to delay the swearing in of its new police chief, who’s still awaiting his credentials to serve as a law enforcement officer in the state.

Local officials had planned to swear in Jacques Battiste as Glynn County police chief Thursday evening, but the ceremony was postponed at the last minute.

That’s because Battiste still hasn’t completed his Georgia law enforcement certification as required by the state’s Peace Officer Standards and Training Council, The Brunswick News reported.

County officials had mistakenly believed Battiste could still be sworn in while awaiting his certification, said Glynn County spokesman Matthew Kent.

Even while he waits to be certified, Battiste is able to supervise the Glynn County Police Department in an administrative capacity, Kent says. But for the moment he has no arrest powers or authority to perform other law enforcement duties.

Glynn County commissioners hired Battiste to be the county’s first full-time Black police chief after a tumultuous year. The department was criticized for failing to make arrests immediately following the killing of Ahmaud Arbery in February 2020.

That and other problems in the department prompted an unsuccessful attempt by some Georgia lawmakers to abolish the Glynn County Police Department last year and hand its duties to the county sheriff.

Battiste spent 22 years as an FBI agent who specialized in counter-terrorism, special events security, SWAT and hazardous device response. After retiring in 2017, Battiste became police chief for Xavier University in Louisiana. Since 2019, he has served as tactical and training coordinator for the Orleans Constable Office in New Orleans.

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