Valdosta Daily Times

November 29, 2012

Valdosta police chief announces retirement

Dean Poling
The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA — After nearly two decades as the city’s top law-enforcement officer, city officials announced Wednesday evening that Valdosta Police Chief Frank Simons will retire at year’s end.

“Frank has set the standard very high and has always expected the best from himself as well as all the men and women of the department,” Valdosta Mayor John Gayle said in a statement. “The VPD is highly respected, full of talented professionals, and is a place where graduates of the Police Academy and others seek employment. Frank’s tremendous leadership ability, integrity and unwavering commitment to do what is right are the qualities that place him at the top of his profession.”

Simons became the Valdosta police chief in August of 1995. Having served as Perry’s police chief for a decade, Simons became the Valdosta Police Department’s leader following a period of upheaval, when scandals had rocked the police force.

At the time he accepted the position, Simons vowed to make the department a nationally accredited police department. He said he would do it in five years. The Valdosta Police Department became accredited with the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies four years after Simons became chief. The department has been CALEA certified ever since, being reaccredited four times. Under Simons’ guidance, the department has been recognized internationally as a CALEA Flagship Agency.

In announcing his retirement, the city released a long list of Simons’ accomplishments from the past 17 1/2 years. They include:

• Renovating the headquarters facility

• Implementing and funding new and modern training for all personnel, implementing a new pay classification plan, improving the department’s equipment and vehicle fleet, and making substantial advancements in the use of technology to improve service as well as efficiency for officers.

• Adding highly qualified professionals in each bureau and implementing new divisions such as the Power Squad, Narcotics Squad, and special tactical teams with highly trained personnel.

• Serving as the city’s primary member on the steering committee that worked to design and construct the 800 MGZ radio system currently in use in Valdosta and Lowndes County. 

• Advocating and advancing the department’s use of ballistics technology making the VPD one of the few agencies in the nation to receive the most modern ballistics microscope to assist in solving crimes.

• Supervising the city’s entry into the 2010 partnership in the Valdosta/Lowndes Regional Crime Laboratory.

Valdosta City Manager Larry Hanson also accepted his job in the summer of 1995. Simons was Hanson’s first hire as city manager.

“Frank is a person I admire and respect as a professional, colleague and friend,” Hanson said in a statement. “Serving in demanding public positions is very stressful, and many sacrifices are made for the good of the city and its citizens. Frank will be sorely missed, but I am truly happy that he and his wife Kathy can enjoy a retirement together and all that life has to offer.”

Simons was not available for comment Wednesday night. He has served as a law-enforcement officer for 41 years.

The City of Valdosta will conduct a search for Simons’ replacement.