New Police Chief in Chatham County

The Chatham County Police Department has a new chief, Bob Oliver. He's no stranger to the department. He retired less than a year ago.

"I've been in the system for over 31 years," he told us. "It's just a pleasure to be back with Chatham County as a member, active member of the police department, and I do appreciate the opportunity."

Oliver takes the job with the understanding that if the Savannah Police Department and Chatham County Police Department merge, his tenure as chief might be short.

"I don't see it as a problem," he said. "The merger, if it happened today, there's still a transition period that we have to go through. I would think probably 2005 before we could even get it completed. So there is a time span where leadership is needed and I'll try to offer that leadership to the Chatham County Police Department."

County manager Russ Abolt says all of the candidates were extremely qualified but Oliver was the best choice. "He's an outstanding individual, highly respected within the department, highly respected within the community, can literally begin today without any serious orientation," he said.

Oliver is officially the new police chief, but Chief Tom Sprague will stay around for a while to ensure a smooth transition. Sprague's retirement reception will be held this Thursday.

Reported by: Ron Wallace,