Valdosta Daily Times

February 28, 2013

Childress: The right choice

The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA — The City of Valdosta’s selection of Brian Childress as the new police chief seems only fitting. For the past dozen years, Childress rose through the police force’s ranks. During the past several years, first as the patrol division commander and more recently as the investigative bureau commander, Childress became the public face of the Valdosta Police Department.

Last year, when Valdosta Police Chief Frank Simons announced he would retire after 17 years in the VPD’s lead position, many people assumed Childress would be named his replacement. But the City of Valdosta made no open assumptions and made no immediate announcements. City leaders took their time.

The city followed a similar approach as it did in its selection of Simons in the mid-1990s. The Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police assisted in assessing applicants for the position. Following the compilation of a short list of candidates that included Childress, City Manager Larry Hanson conducted interviews.

“Upon the completion of the interview process, I had no doubt that Cmdr. Childress was the right professional to lead the men and women of the VPD and to serve the citizens of our great city,” Hanson said in naming Childress as police chief Tuesday.

Hanson mentioned the groundswell of public support for naming Childress as the new chief. As the city conducted its search, Childress said many people from many walks of life offered him their support. Childress described these words of encouragement as an honor.

In the moments following the announcement, Childress informally spoke Tuesday with officers at the police station. A woman approached him. She said Childress had answered a call a few weeks earlier at her house. The call was a bad situation for the woman, but she offered Childress a hug of support. She thanked him for treating her with decency and respect during the incident at her home.

This scene is indicative of Brian Childress’ time with the VPD. Even in the toughest of circumstances, he has earned a reputation as being firm but fair. It is a quality we believe will continue serving Childress well as police chief — a quality which should serve all of Valdosta just as well in the years to come.