GLYNN COUNTY, Ga. – Ever since Glynn County Police Chief Jay Wiggins announced he was resigning last month, the search has been on for the county’s next top cop.
That search now includes input right from the Community First Planning Commission. The commission is a group made up of local pastors, business owners, and stakeholders within Glynn County.
Pastor Darren West is the chair for the commission’s legal committee and says with the goal being to improve relations between the police force and the community, this is an important step.
“There’s never been a person of color as the police chief,” West said. “Not only has there never been a person of color, but there’s also never been a person of color considered.”
West also told News4Jax he wants to address what he says is a glaring discrepancy between the department and the community it serves.
“[When] you have a city that is 60% African-American and you have a police force that has never considered a person of color for that police force,” West said. “It’s just hard to understand the people in the community if you don’t understand their experience with the policing in the community.”
In the search for the next police chief, the commission will also hear input from the National Organization for Black Law Enforcement Executives, known as NOBLE. That’s a partnership West also pushed for.
News4jax viewers may recall some Georgia lawmakers called for a referendum to be placed on the ballot, which would have allowed voters to decide whether to abolish the Glynn County Police Department In the end, a court said that was unconstitutional. Talks for abolishing the department heated up following the death of 25-year old Ahmaud Arbery last February. Pastor West wants to make it clear, getting rid of the Glynn County police department was never something the commission supported.
“We fought that tooth and nail--that referendum-- to get it off the ballot. To be able to have a say-so,” West said. “Otherwise, other people would make decisions about who is policing our community.”
News4jax reached out to Glynn County Commissioner, David O’Quinn, about meeting with the planning commission. In a statement, he said:
“Our meeting with members of Community First Planning Commission was productive and enlightening. I believe that we walked away agreeing that we all want the best for our community and the police department. I look forward to continuing working with them and others to ensure that the police department is addressing concerns of the entire community.”
Pastor West says while corrections need to be made, the end goal is to make the community safer for everyone, no matter their background. He also pointed to incidents in Glynn County that have received negative national coverage and says they do not reflect the community at large.
“We’re here to say, that’s not our community,” West said.
“Even though there are some things that have happened that have gotten national attention, that’s not what we see our community as here.”
A county spokesperson told News4jax as of Tuesday afternoon, 23 people have applied for the Glynn County police chief position. Pastor West said the commission had not met with any of them, as far as he knows.
The deadline for people to apply for the position is Monday, March 1st. To learn more about the position and its requirements, visit.
To reach out to the Community First Planning Commission, visit its Facebook page.