CONYERS - Rockdale County Sheriff's Office Chief Deputy Scott Freeman will be leaving Rockdale to become the next police chief of the Athens-Clarke County Police Department starting July 6.
Freeman was appointed to RCSO Chief Deputy under Sheriff Eric Levett starting 2013. Previously, he was the Deputy Chief at the Conyers Police Department, the agency where he began his law enforcement career 25 years ago.
"It is with great pleasure (we) announce that Chief Freeman has accepted the position of Chief of Police for Athens Clarke County Police Department," said Sheriff Eric Levett.
"I'm very excited about this next chapter in my career and my life," Freeman said.
Levett said he will run day-to-day operations at the RCSO for the time being. "I'll seek a chief deputy at some point," he said.
Freeman became more familiar with Athens as he was researching things that could be used in Rockdale, such as their camera system and parking meters. "I just developed a profound image of them and everything the police department does."
He said he has been happy in Rockdale but when the position opened in Athens, he saw it as an opportuity. He will be relocating there by the end of the year.
The Athens Clarke County Police Department is the eighth largest police department in the state and is made up of 240 sworn officers and 65 civilian employees. The position of Chief of Police for Athens Clarke County Police Department recently became available after Chief Jack Lumpkin retired after 17 years and became the Savannah Chief of Police.
Freeman was the top choice out of 64 applicants, accourding to the Athens Banner-Herald.
"I'm extremely proud of him," said Sheriff Levett. "I hate to see him go... At the same time, it's a goal he's accomplishing and I support it."
Freeman's passion for law enforcement began at Rockdale County High School, where he participated in the Explorer program designed to give young adults interested in law enforcement careers the opportunity to learn about the job.
After graduating in 1990, he worked as a dispatcher at the Conyers Police Department for a year before attending the police academy and becoming an officer. He became a Major in the CPD and has earned both a master's degree and a Ph.D. in public policy from Walden University, and also graduated the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Academy in Quanitco, Va. in 2012.
As teenagers in the Explorer program together, Levett and Freeman set a goal that they both would one day become a Chief or Sheriff. Both agreed whoever obtained their goal first would hire the other as their second in command.
Shortly after Sheriff Levett was voted Sheriff of Rockdale County in 2012, he offered Freeman the position of Chief Deputy. Freeman accepted the position with honor because he could serve the citizens of Rockdale County and continue to serve the citizens of the City of Conyers, according to Levett
Freeman was instrumental in assisting Sheriff Levett in re-organizing the RCSO to make it run more efficiently and fight crime more effectively, Levett said in a statement.
Some of Freeman's biggest accomplishments include improving the morale at the RCSO, gaining the respect of the employees, equipping deputies, increasing deputy salaries, and starting the CALEA accreditation application process. The CALEA application is a time-consuming goal that remains unfinished, said Levett.
"I am going to miss working directly with Chief Freeman however I am excited for him because this is a great opportunity for him and Athens Clark County Police Department" said Sheriff Levett. "He has always had a goal of becoming a Chief of Police and he will serve the citizens of Athens Clarke County with honor and integrity. I have always said that everyone has their own season and this is Chief Freeman's season. Even though Chief Freeman will be working for another department, we will continue to work together as we have always done since we started Law Enforcement together. I will continue to run the day to day operations of the agency until such time that I select a new Chief Deputy."