Muscogee County Sheriff backs CPD’s interim police chief, Stony Mathis for permanent position

Published: Aug. 30, 2023 at 11:50 AM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - A recent strain on the working relationship between the Muscogee County Sheriff’s Office and Columbus Police Department is no secret. Now a new chief is temporarily in place for one agency and the two are working together, and both hope things will last.

Columbus Interim Police Chief Stony Mathis said he wants the permanent position and Muscogee County Sheriff Greg Countryman has his back.

The CPD and MCSO are putting their past behind them.

”What I love the most about this chief is we communicate. We communicate, if not everyday, then at least every other day but several times per week.“ said Countryman.

“We just continue to build the relationship for the betterment of the community.” said Mathis.

Incidents from the last few years put a strain on the relationship between the two agencies. Some of the strain stems from an incident between deputies and police outside the jail to directives within CPD, telling police not to work with sheriff’s deputies on the streets.

“Those directives are gone. They did also have a directive that the sheriffs department had to file open records if they ever wanted to come over and serve some of our warrants. We need their help. We don’t have the personnel to serve our own warrants, so if they’re willing to help us do that, I’m willing to let them have all access they need to whatever we have.” said Mathis.

Things like that is why the sheriff said if the city makes Mathis the new police chief, he will support that decision.

To see the officers and the deputies interacting, that’s like music to me.” said Countryman.

Originally, Mathis came to Columbus with plans to serve only on an interim basis, and that the city’s search committee would look for a new permanent chief, but things have changed.

“I could come in and spend three to five years and really make an impact on both the police department and the community. Prayed about it and that’s exactly what I want to do. I did apply for the position. I don’t know what exactly is going to happen, we have our interview on September the 8th.”

But in the meantime, Interim or not, both agency heads say they hope to keep cleaning up the streets of Columbus.

”My goal is to put 100 more police officers on the street in the next 12 months.“ said Mathis.

“We are going after the worst of the worst in the city, and we will need some help arresting these individuals.” said Countryman.

Before interim chief Mathis’ arrival, The sheriff’s office and CPD had not worked together on any crime operations in almost two years.

We did reach out to the mayor to check in on the new chief hiring process. We were unable to get him on camera.