After the City Council met for roughly 30 minutes in executive session Thursday morning, Sewell was recommended for the position by City Manager Rick Eckert at a special called meeting. The Council approved the recommendation, 5-0.
Sewell is expected to take over the police department on or before Aug. 15. He will be meeting with the mayor and Council todayand visiting the city between now and his start date.
“I’m very excited about coming to Powder Springs, and I’m very humbled by your vote of confidence in me,” Sewell said to the Council. “You have a real good police department, and I’m looking forward to getting in and getting my feet wet.”
Sewell will oversee 30 sworn officers and four civilian employees. The department has an operating budget of about $3 million. The current police chief’s salary is $75,000.
One of the first items on Sewell’s agenda is getting the department certified. Former Police Chief L. Rick Richardson had been in the process before he was fired in February, Mayor Pat Vaughn said.
To become certified, police departments must meet 129 professional police standards that act as guidelines and are considered essential to effective law enforcement.
McMinnville has a population roughly the same size as Powder Springs, with 13,605 residents, and is about 77 miles southeast of Nashville.
Sewell began his law enforcement career in 1972. He was chief of the Morrow Police Department from 2004 to 2005 and has been with the McMinnville Police Department since September 2006, after coming out of retirement in December 2005.
He holds a master’s degree in public administration and a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Columbus State University. He received an associate degree from Georgia Military College. He is certified as a police officer in Tennessee and Georgia. He is also a graduate of the FBI National Academy, Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police and Columbus State University’s Command College.
“We are very excited about Chief Sewell bringing to Powder Springs his years of experience,” Mayor Vaughn said. “He does bring a wealth of experience and accomplishments.”
David Rutherford, McMinnville’s city administrator, said Sewell is an excellent police chief.
“He implemented several new programs for the police department to be more engaged in the community with the residents,” Rutherford said. “He raised the professionalism of the department and maintained high morale, even throughout some city budget issues that resulted in some vacant positions being frozen.”
Richardson was fired for allegedly selling city property, including three police vehicles, without authorization, in light of an investigation by the Cobb Sheriff’s Office. Richardson was a 17-year police chief.