Certification delays swearing in of new police chief | Local News


New Glynn County Police Chief Jacques Battiste cannot wear a uniform or have arrest powers in Georgia until he earns his state P.O.S.T. Certification.

But he is already on the job, and county spokesman Matthew Kent said Batiste does not need to wear a uniform or have arrest powers to perform his duties as police chief.

“As the administrative head of the police department, you’re not going out and making arrests,” he said. “He just doesn’t have arrest powers.”

Kent pointed out that municipalities across the nation face the same situation when they conduct a national search and choose a new chief from out of state. The new chief can still run the department while earning state certification.

Battiste has more than 20 years experience as an FBI agent, serving in Washington, D.C., and in Quantico, Va. He served as deputy constable with the Orleans Parish Constable’s Office in New Orleans until accepting the police chief job here. He also served as campus police chief for a year in 2018 at Xavier University of Louisiana in New Orleans.

Kent said Battiste is a certified law enforcement officer in Louisiana and he believes the new chief will get credit for his past law enforcement experience and will not have to take the entire eight-week course to earn certification in Georgia.

County officials scheduled a ceremony to swear in Battiste before Thursday’s regularly scheduled commission meeting but had to abruptly cancel the event after P.O.S.T. officials sent an email earlier in the day reversing a decision which would have allowed Battiste to be sworn in.

“County leadership had the understanding that Chief Battiste could be officially sworn in as chief to perform his day-to-day administrative duties, pending receipt of his Georgia certification,” he said.

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