Winder Police Chief Stanley Rodgers is leaving the department.
Before the city administration made an official announcement, sources close to the department told the Barrow Journal on Thursday afternoon that the chief's last day would be Friday, Jan. 21.
The information was confirmed near the close of business Thursday afternoon, when in response to an open-records request, city clerk Sabrina Wall provided a copy of the chief's Jan. 19 letter telling Mayor Chip Thompson that he was retiring and would leave in two days.
The letter does not provide a reason for the chief's sudden retirement. However, sources said the city's new administrator, Donald Toms, had been critical of the chief's management of the police department.
A source said the final straw reportedly was the decision to actively explore the consolidation of the city's and county's emergency communications operations – something that the source said Rodgers opposes.
However, on Friday morning, Toms said in an e-mail that Rodgers has only "minor" concerns about the possible consolidation of county 911 and city dispatch operations.
"Chief Rodgers did mention some minor concerns, many due to the dispatchers handling some clerical duties for the PD; however, he supported the consolidation based on providing better service to the
citizens of Winder," Toms wrote.
In a press release Friday morning, Toms stated that Rodgers had been preparing for retirement for several months and also had groomed Deputy Chief Dennis Dorsey to take his place.
"Chief Stanley has done an excellent job in preparing Dennis Dorsey to take over the Police Department," the press release states.
The announcement states that Rodgers would continue to assist the department "as needed in a civilian role over the next few months."
Also in his resignation letter, Rodgers endorsed Dorsey's possible appointment as his successor.
"He is an outstanding young man with strong family values, well trained, familiar with the community, its issues, and dedicated to the future of the City," Rodgers wrote.
On Dec. 16, Mayor Chip Thompson announced that Dorsey had been named deputy chief. Friday's press release states that the promotion was effective Dec. 20.
A source said Dorsey would be interim chief for six months until a permanent chief is put in place. He has worked for the department for 14 years.
Rodgers informed the department's command team of his retirement decision on Wednesday and by Thursday had cleaned out his office, a source said.