Glynn County Police Department hosts town hall with goal of transparency

GLYNN COUNTY, Ga. – Wednesday night, the Glynn County interim police chief invited residents to log on and participate in a virtual town hall meeting.

The meeting with the interim police chief, Jay Wiggins, was the first of its kind.

Wiggins was named the interim police chief in late February after a grand jury indicted the now ex-Chief John Powell and three others in connection with an investigation into a former officer who had sex with an informant.

In the last few years, the police department has come under scrutiny involving many cases. The mission of the virtual town hall was transparency as Wiggins asked residents to send in any questions they had about the police department.

One person asked: What’s the protocol for an officer who stops a citizen, as encounters nationwide have seemed to quickly escalate.

Wiggins said more training is needed.

“We’ve had an opportunity to reach out to the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, which is located here in our backyard. We have done training in the past with them, and they have agreed to do training with us now,” he said.

Another question for the interim chief -- why didn’t he issue arrest warrants for the former Glynn County police officer Greg McMichael and his son, Travis, after the shooting of Ahmaud Arbery whose family said he was jogging in Brunswick when confronted by the men.

The men were arrested months later, after video of the fatal incident was leaked.

“That is a very difficult question. It’s one that I would very much like to address. But, with it being an ongoing case, hopefully in the future we’ll be able to provide those answers to you,” Wiggins said.

A bill is sitting on Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp’s desk that would allow voters in November whether to dissolve the Glynn County Police Department.

After answering residents’ questions for an hour, Wiggins hoped the meeting would help his department and the community connect.

“We do ask that people give us an opportunity to show that we’re out there and we’re doing the job that they want,” he said.

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