Savannah Police Department chief stepping down to ‘focus on U.S. Marshal nomination’

Published: Jun. 30, 2022 at 2:53 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 30, 2022 at 2:55 PM EDT

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Roy Minter, the chief of the Savannah Police Department (SPD), is stepping down from his position at the end of July.

Minter was nominated for a U.S. Marshal position in the Southern District of Georgia by President Joe Biden in May. According to a news release from the City of Savannah, Minter is stepping down to focus “on the confirmation process for his nomination to serve as U.S. Marshal.”

The office of U.S. Marshal is the top executive of the U.S. Marshals Service in each of the 94 Federal judicial districts. The position is subject to Senate confirmation.

Savannah Police Chief Roy Minter joined the department almost 4 years ago.

“My strong commitment to the savannah police department and the community we serve will not change,” said Minter at his swearing in ceremony back in 2018.

Now, he’s focusing on his nomination as US Marshal for the Southern District of Georgia.

“We deserve. I think he did enough to get this nomination and one thing about Savannah, we always produce good people,” said Alderman Detric Leggett.

“I think this is a good opportunity for them we wish him well, I wish him well but I think this will be a much needed change for Savannah,” said Alderman Kurtis Purtee.

Council members say the city and police department have been suffering with rising crime and a shorthanded staff.

“With crime comes finger pointing and blaming and it’s time to etch out a strategy that’s going to work for the entire community...all six districts. Because what’s happening in one district, we see, it’s bleeding into the other,” Alderwoman Linda Wilder-Bryan

“A lot of people felt different ways about it within council a lot of things we question a lot of things we disagreed with,” said Alderman Leggett.

“It’s time to start taking care of our police officers right now the people in our city are hurting. We’re hurting really bad,” said Alderman Purtee.

Council members say hopefully under new leadership there’s some change in morale and retention within the department

“People have asked for this. They got what they want and now we want everyone to come together and support this awesome police force,” said Alderwoman Wilder-Bryan.

And they say, they are fully supporting Assistant Chief Lenny Gunther who has served SPD for more than 20 years

“We’re right behind you. We’re going to do everything humanely possible to we’re going to pray and make sure you get all the tools you need.”

Minter’s last day with the department will be July 29. He has served as chief since 2018.

Savannah City Manager Jay Melder has appointed Assistant Chief Lenny Gunther to serve as interim chief effective July 30. Gunther has been with SPD since 2001.

“Since the exciting announcement of Chief Minter’s nomination as the United States Marshal for the Southern District of Georgia, the timeline for his transition from the Savannah Police Department has been considered and discussed,” Savannah Mayor Van Johnson said in a prepared statement. “Chief Minter has been a consummate professional and his legacy will live in his historic promotions of women within our ranks and the technological and programmatic advances that will keep the Savannah Police Department the premier municipal law enforcement agency in Georgia. Our city will forever be grateful for his efforts during some of the most challenging times in our history.”

Copyright 2022 WTOC. All rights reserved.