Is Savannah City Council micro-managing Chief Lovett? - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Is city council micro-managing chief of police?

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Savannah-Chatham Metro Police Chief Willie Lovett Savannah-Chatham Metro Police Chief Willie Lovett
SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) -

Is Savannah's chief of police being micro-managed by Savannah City Council?

"I don't think so. I think the chief would tell us if we were trying to do that. We are just trying to give him suggestions," said Mayor Edna Jackson, city of Savannah.

Mayor Jackson may not think so but after multiple presentations over the last year from Savannah-Chatham Metro Police Chief Willie Lovett to elected officials at their request, the jury may be out.

"Street time is more efficient and effective in combating crime than necessarily being in meeting," said Demery Bishop, Crimestoppers executive director and retired FBI special Agent.

Bishop won't go as far as to call it micro-managing but he is not so comfortable with the line of questioning and methods city leaders have used with the chief.

"I think constantly explaining what they are doing takes away from the effectiveness and efficiency of modern day policing," said Bishop.

Bishop says policing needs to be left to Chief Lovett after ideas and suggestions from council members themselves, most with no law enforcement background.

"I think we need to walk very gingerly at this point when it comes to that. The effectiveness of law enforcement is to have the tools to do what you need to do," said Bishop.

Bishop says one example is a rehash of an old victory over violence campaigns from the early 2000s, publishing a top 100 criminals list.

"I guess it brings some degree of notoriety to those individuals so I think we have to be very careful because that is what those individuals thrive on," said Bishop.

"Tell us what needs to be done so we can tell the community and they can be involved," said Jackson.

While the city manager answers to council, the chief answers to the city manager. The mayor says no lines have been crossed.

"We are not the police or the police enforcers. We leave that up to the professionals," said Jackson.

"He is a professional. He has been in law enforcement for years. Given the ability to do what he needs to do with his department, I think we could have a substantial impact," said Bishop.

Chief Lovett has not commented specifically on his interactions with the mayor and the council but he has been very clear in public forums when council members ask him for information. He tells them that he will get that information to the city manager, his direct supervisor. 

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