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Jonesboro appoints new police chief -- again

By Joel Hall

jhall@news-daily.com

The Jonesboro City Council appointed Lt. Wayne Woods, of the Jonesboro Police Department, to serve as interim police chief on Monday, following last Thursday's departure of newly appointed Police Chief Tim Jessup.

After an executive session that lasted nearly an hour and a half, the council chose Woods to lead the city's police force. Woods, a five-year veteran of the department, and a lieutenant and detective for nearly a year, said he is excited about his new responsibilities.

"It's an honor for me," he said. "It's been a career dream to move into this position. I'm just interim chief, so I will still be doing lieutenant and detective work, on top of my duties. I'll be wearing a lot of hats for the next month or two. However, I'm up to the challenge, and I've got a good bunch of men and women working with me."

In the past seven months, the City of Jonesboro has seen two other police chiefs come and go.

In May, Jonesboro Mayor Luther Maddox fired former chief, Brad Johnson, saying that Johnson had not successfully completed a probationary period. Prior to Johnson's firing, the mayor suspended him for wearing blue jeans on the job, and for what Maddox called disrespect of the office of mayor.

On Dec. 3, the city council appointed former major, and then-interim police chief, Jessup, to be the permanent police chief. On Jan. 7, only five weeks into his tenure, Jessup left the department to take a position with the Clayton County Sheriff's Office.

Woods, who began his career in law enforcement 10 years ago as a deputy sheriff assigned to the Clayton County Jail, said he believes he can provide stability to the department while the board determines who to appoint as permanent police chief.

"I'll continue with the day-to-day operations," he said. "I'm hoping, with my training and experience, we can obtain a level of stability. We have the support of a good mayor and council, so I am excited."

During Monday's business meeting, Jonesboro Public Works Director Joe Nettleton gave a first-week update on the city's garbage collection program, which the city took over from Robertson Sanitation at the first of the year.

In his update, Nettleton reported that 187 of the services' 730 customers had not paid their bill for January, February, and March service, and that the city would collect the garbage cans of unpaid customers by the end of the week.

"We have 187 who didn't pay, and they will not have trash cans by the end of the week," Nettleton said. "If their can is gone [collected by the city], it will be an additional $10 to bring it back. They've had a lot of time to pay it."

According to Nettleton, the most recent quarterly bill for garbage collection was sent to residents at the end of November, and they had until Dec. 31 of last year to pay it. The cost of the garbage service per quarter is $45, he said.

Also, on Monday night, the council voted to approve a proposal, introduced by Mayor Luther Maddox, to annex certain portions of Tara Boulevard, between Ga. Highway 138 and Noah's Ark Road, into the city limits of Jonesboro.

The vote was 5-1, with new council member, Joe Compton, opposed to the move. He said he wanted "a little more time to talk to the people that we're annexing."

Maddox said he plans to take the resolution before the Clayton County Legislative Delegation for approval through local legislation. For that to happen, however, the county would first have to agree to the annexation plan, he added.

"Once they [the delegation] get the resolution, the county will have to approve it, which is a long, uphill battle," Maddox said.