Columbus mayor selects Stoney Mathis as new police chief
COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - Columbus could soon see a new police chief. Mayor Skip Henderson selected Interim Chief Stoney Mathis for his recommendation for the job of the city’s top cop.
The next step in the process is for the city council to affirm the appointment at the next council meeting in two weeks. After that, he plans to make a strategic plan, and then the real work begins.
“I want to reduce the crime. I want to reduce the fear of crime and improve the quality of life,” said Mathis.
The mayor says out of roughly 30 plus applicants, Mathis stood alone as his pick to run the department after former Police Chief Freddie Blackmon’s forced retirement in April of this year. A national search was conducted to find a replacement for the police chief position. The process was highly competitive, and leading applications were followed by a rigorous selection process, making Mathis the top recommendation.
The mayor’s recommendation came on the back end of a violent past few weeks in Columbus. Several children have been killed, and others recovering after being shot. Those incidents have been on the top of citizens’ minds, and Mathis is not blind to them.
“My next phase is going to be crime prevention. I’m going got put a strategic plan together to address crime. And the only reason I haven’t done that thus for is simply, I need personnel to do that,” said Mathis.
Boosting the morale within the department along with the way Mathis, a 30-year law enforcement officer carries himself is what Henderson says sold him on his pick.
Mathis was appointed as interim chief on May 8 to handle the day-to-day operations of the Columbus Police Department.
Chief Mathis obtained his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Cameron University in Lawton, Oklahoma, in 1992. He completed the Drug Unit Commander Academy at the Drug Enforcement Administration in Quantico, Virginia, in 2004 and the Southern Police Institute’s class #118 at the University of Louisville in 2007.
In 2009, Mathis graduated from the Senior Management Institute for Police (SMIP). Chief Mathis also completed a two-year command college program at Columbus State University, where he earned his master’s degree in public administration in 2011. He was elected as the 4th Vice President of the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police by his peers in 2020, and in 2017, he completed the FBI Law Enforcement Executive Leadership Program.
“Mathis brings a new perspective to the Columbus Police Department. With his years of experience, knowledge of law enforcement, and his ability to build relationships while focusing on public safety, will enhance the operations and the delivery of public safety for the citizens of Columbus,” said Henderson.
A national search was conducted to find a replacement for the police chief position. The process was highly competitive, and leading applications were followed by a rigorous selection process, making Mathis the top recommendation.
“I am excited about the opportunity to join the Public Safety team to serve and protect the citizens of Columbus. It is an honor to work with the fine people at the Columbus Police Department and all Public Safety for the betterment of Columbus. I look forward to working with the Mayor, Administration, the Council and the community”, said Mathis.
Henderson will go before the Columbus Council to approve his selection on Oct. 10.
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