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County announces three police chief finalists

By Joel Hall

jhall@news-daily.com

The Clayton County Board of Commissioners (BOC) has announced the top three candidates, who will vie for the top police position, previously held by former Clayton County Police Chief Jeff Turner.

On Wednesday, officials said that Hogansville Police Department Assistant Police Chief John E. Pearson, Sr.; Clayton County Deputy Police Chief Greg Porter; and Clayton County Interim Police Chief Tim Robinson will compete for the position of permanent police chief.

The county has been without a permanent chief since Dec. 28, 2009, when Turner was removed from the position by the board, and was named director of the Clayton County Regional Law Enforcement Academy.

Pearson could not be reached for comment on Wednesday. According to a resume provided by the BOC, Pearson retired from the DeKalb County Police Department in June 2007, after 25 years of service, holding nearly every rank in the department, from officer to assistant director of police services.

Since March 2009, Pearson has served as assistant police chief of the Hogansville Police Department, in Troup County. He is currently pursuing a bachelor's degree in criminal justice from Columbus State University, his biographical information states.

According to Clayton County Public Information Officer Jamie Carlington, Pearson is the husband of WSB-TV news anchor, Monica Pearson.

Greg Porter was reached on Wednesday, but said he was dealing with a family emergency. Later attempts to reach him were unsuccessful.

According to a resume provided by the BOC, Porter has served the Clayton County Police Department since 1987, holding ranks within the department from officer to deputy chief of police, with the exception of major. For two years prior to serving in the Clayton County Police Department, Porter was a correctional officer with the Georgia Department of Corrections.

He has a bachelor's degree in criminology from Saint Leo University, and is currently pursing a master's degree in Public Administration from Columbus State University, according to county officials.

Tim Robinson, who has served as the county's interim police chief since last December, has been a Clayton County resident for 43 years and a member of the Clayton County Police Department for nearly 30 years.

According to Robinson, his entire law-enforcement career has been spent with the Clayton County Police Department. He said that he started in March of 1981 as a patrolman and worked his way through the ranks of detective, sergeant, lieutenant, captian, major, deputy chief, and interim chief.

"I think the department has provided me with 29 and a half years of on-the-job training," he said Wednesday. "I know the issues, I know how the county has grown over the years, and I think I know how to address the concerns of the citizens. In the seven months that I've been chief, I've demonstrated that I'm capable of leading the department."

Robinson said that in 17 of his 30 years with the department, he served as a supervisor, and he spent 24 years as a member of the county's SWAT team. As commander of the SWAT team, Robinson said he developed the county's tactical plan for the 1996 Olympic Games.

In addition to having a bachelor's degree in government administration from Georgia State University, he said, and a master's in public administration from Columbus State University, Robinson is also a graduate of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's National Academy. He said he believes his experience and training make him the best candidate for the job.

"I think that I have the necessary education, training, and experience," he said. "They're trying to achieve what I have already obtained."

The BOC interviewed the three candidates during a two-hour executive session on Tuesday night. Following the interviews, the county did not render a final decision.

The commissioners did not say when they will name a permanent police chief.