2013-07-03 / Front Page

New chief takes over Sardis PD

By Elizabeth Billips

Scotti Sanford was hired as the new Sardis Police Chief. Scotti Sanford was hired as the new Sardis Police Chief. Sardis has a new police chief … but he’s not new to Sardis.

Last Tuesday night city council unanimously agreed to offer the position to Benjamin “Scotti” Sanford, one of four finalists selected from 14 applicants.

The 44-year-old Statesboro resident has been with the department since January 2012 and was already the officer in charge.

Chief Sanford, a former Marine and officer for Georgia Southern University, believes those 17 months in Sardis have helped prepare him for the job.

“It has given me time to get to know the community,” he said, singling out public relations as one of the most important facets of his position. “I try to treat everyone with respect and expect my officers to do the same. The Sardis Police Department is a small department and, as such, we have to have a good relationship with the citizens we serve.”

The chief hopes to build on those relationships by hosting quarterly meetings with local leaders and other key community members.

He also wants to work with troubled youth by spearheading programs that will keep them off the streets and in contact with positive role models.

“My officers and I plan to invest in the community and only ask that the citizens do the same,” he said, conceding his plans will only materialize if residents buy in.

While Chief Sanford believes technological upgrades and efforts to recruit and retain quality officers are vital for the fourman department, he acknowledges the agency was already put on the right track by former chief Gary Jones.

“I’m following in some large footprints,” Chief Sanford said. “I had the privilege of working for and with Chief Jones for over a year before he moved on to the City of Harlem in May. Even though Chief Jones has left Sardis, I consider him to be a mentor and can call upon him at any time.”

Like his former boss, Chief Sanford has taken a no-nonsense stance when it comes to crime.

“I have zero tolerance,” he said. “Please let this be a warning … this is a chance for anyone who desires to conduct themselves in a criminal manner to find another place to do it. It will not be tolerated in Sardis.”

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