City of Hamilton names new police chief months after former chief asked to resign over racial slur usage
HAMILTON, Ga. (WTVM) - It has been just over two months since body camera footage showing Hamilton Police Chief Gene Allmond and Patrolman John Brooks using racial slurs at a 2020 Black Lives Matter protest surfaced, leading to the chief’s resignation and the patrolman’s termination.
Hamilton Mayor Julie Brown made a motion at an emergency city council meeting Monday evening to name Eric Weiss the new Chief of Police. Weiss was one of 19 candidates.
“We had a lot of qualified ones. It was really hard, but he just had a real good record and a lot of training and just seemed real enthusiastic,” said Mayor Brown.
The 32-year-old was formerly with the Muscogee County Sheriff’s Office and spent a few years as a Task Force Officer with Drug Enforcement Administration.
“Very happy. It’s been a long couple months and I’m glad it’s over,” Mayor Brown said.
In an attempt to avoid a similar problem from happening within the police department, the City of Hamilton is emphasizing its focus on police conduct. In late Jan., Wayne Cato from the Shiloh Police Department stepped in as Hamiliton’s interim police chief. Hamilton City Attorney Ron Iddins credits the interim chief for helping them change the process for hiring a new police chief.
“He has brought us up to speed and made us current in procedures and in the evaluation and the background checks and so forth so we feel very comfortable with the decision made,” said Iddins.
Interim Chief Cato says they’ve discussed diversity training for police at prior meetings. They wanted to wait until Hamilton’s new chief is in place. Then, Hamilton police will be joining Shiloh police for diversity training offered by the LaGrange Police Department.
Officials say that it will likely be a few more weeks before Weiss is officially sworn in.
“I hope he portrays that he’s going to be very community oriented and be that way with everybody no matter what color or anything like that,” said Mayor Brown.
Hamilton currently has three part-time police officers and Mayor Brown says they will likely hire a fourth.
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