New leadership on Tybee Island as assistant police chief is named

Published: Feb. 13, 2023 at 4:43 PM EST
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TYBEE ISLAND, Ga. (WTOC) - For the first time in 12 years, Tybee Island’s Police Department has a new line of leadership.

The island’s first female police chief was sworn in in January and her new assistant chief has officially been named.

Chief Tiffany Hayes and her new Assistant Chief Bertram Whitley have spent a combined 37 years with the department. The duo are long-time friends and colleagues and together they rose to the top.

“It’s always been a goal of mine to do the best I can and rise through the ranks,” said Assistant Chief Whitely.

From a young age, playing cops and robbers with family on Tybee Island, Bertram Whitley says he always knew he wanted to be a police officer.

“I have always had a passion for helping people and this role and this profession is very self-gratifying to me.”

And he fulfilled those childhood dreams. Whitley was an officer with Thunderbolt Police before coming to Tybee’s Police Department in 2012.

And before becoming Assistant Chief Whitley, he was Lieutenant Whitley working in the department’s investigation unit.

“During my time in investigations I had the opportunity to meet a lot of business owners, a lot of residents and even a lot of vacationers. I think being able to work with them one-on-one is going to help me put back some of the things I learned from them into the community.”

Whitley isn’t the only one in a new role, though, Chief Tiffany Hayes is too. Chief Hayes says she’s confident in what Whitley brings to the table. She’s been an advocate for him for years.

“I knew him when he was with Thunderbolt. I asked him several times when he was with Thunderbolt to come apply for us and eventually he fell,” said Chief Hayes.

Chief Hayes says they’re already working together on things like recruiting for the department, getting new certifications and creating a scholarship for employees and citizens.

“I think we’ve got a lot of great ideas to move forward. You know, change isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s bad. Hopefully our change is going to be good.”

The two say the community’s support is everything and they want them to know they’re in good hands.

“We’re always going to be fair, we’re always going to be trustworthy, and we can always be counted on,” said Assistant Chief Whitley.

“I just want to say thank you for their support and hopefully they continue to support us,” said Chief Hayes.

Chief Hayes says they also have four new officers, so she says they are prepared heading into the busy summer months when the call volume spikes. She says growth, like this, in the department is important and if anyone is interested in working with them - they should reach out.