Acworth police chief Wilkie resigns
by Marcus E. Howard
mhoward@mdjonline.com
April 12, 2012 12:35 AM | 9366 views | 18 18 comments | 32 32 recommendations | email to a friend | print
ACWORTH — Acworth Police Chief Michael Wilkie has resigned as head of the city’s police department.

Wilkie, 55, accepted a position with Bob Jones University, a Christian university in Greenville, S.C. He will stay with the department until the end of the month. Major Wayne Dennard will be promoted to chief of police, pending a vote next Thursday by the Acworth Board of Aldermen.

Wilkie, an alumnus of Bob Jones University, said he informed the university last December in his annual holiday greetings of the doctorate he had just earned from Valdosta State University. Subsequent conversations led to the university offering him the job of director of its criminal justice program on Friday, he said.

“I’ve been in Acworth almost 10 years and law enforcement 25 years,” Wilkie said Wednesday. “I’m looking forward at this opportunity to now take some of that experience and background into the classroom and teach some Christian young people.”

A native of Atlanta, Wilkie was first appointed Acworth police chief on Dec. 16, 2002.

He previously served as chief of police for Springdale, S.C., and Jonesville, S.C. He has also been a member of the criminal justice faculty for the University of Phoenix, according to his official biography.

In addition to a bachelor’s degree from BJU, he holds a master’s degree in criminal justice degree from the University of South Carolina and a master of public administration from Columbus State University. He is also a graduate of the FBI National Academy and served in the U.S. Army Reserves.

Acworth Mayor Tommy Allegood said Wilkie informed him of his resignation over the weekend.

“It’s a great opportunity for Mike,” Allegood said.

The five-member Acworth Board of Aldermen is expected to approve the city manager’s recommendation that Dennard be promoted to chief at their regular meeting at 7 p.m. April 19 at City Hall. After approval by the aldermen, he will immediately be sworn in as chief.

“When I started here, I would have been happy just being a patrol officer,” Dennard said Wednesday. “I’ve enjoyed my time here and quite honestly, if I could afford it, I’d do it for free. I love this community and this department. It’s been a great experience.”

Dennard, 50, has been with the Acworth Police Department for his entire nine-year law enforcement career, beginning as a patrol officer. He previously worked in the security industry.

A 1980 Sprayberry High School graduate, he holds a bachelor’s in criminal justice from Thomas University in Thomasville. In May, he expects to graduate with a master of public administration from Columbus State University. He is a graduate of the FBI National Academy.

As police chief, he will oversee a department with 40 sworn officers, plus 16 civilian employees. The city has its own jail facility and is planning to build a new police headquarters.

“Chief Wilkie has put us on a good course, and I just have to hold the wheel steady,” Dennard said.

Dennard and his wife, Melinda, have been married 17 years. He has a grown daughter and grown son, who was a Cobb police officer, in addition to two daughters who attend North Cobb Christian School in Kennesaw. He also has two grandchildren.

The thing Wilkie said he is most proud of is the stability with which he leaves the police department, he said.

“The men and women of our department have really gotten a vision for the community-oriented philosophy that we tried to deliver our law enforcement services,” Wilkie said. “We’ve won several statewide awards and recognitions because of it. They have been good police officers, and I’m just proud to have had the chance to work with them for the last 10 years.”
Comments
(18)
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Teresa M.
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April 17, 2012
I guess some people don't think people can change and better themselves. How many of you are the same people you were 25 years ago? READ THE ARTICLE! Major Dennard has EARNED the promotion by working hard while going to school (hello FBI Academy, Bachelor's in Criminal Justice AND graduating in May with a MASTER in Public Administration). He has an EXEMPLARY record and nobody is given the lead job just by "who you know"! Grow up people and give Major Dennard a chance. Can't wait until he proves you wrong!
cobbobserver
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April 17, 2012
If he was really the best choice then it wouldn't matter if the position was opened to the entire department. 9 years in CCPD may get you promoted to sgt and there are many who have degrees in law enforcement. I think most law enforcement would say nine years is not long enough to have the experience to run any respectable police department. If he really is the best guy for the job then so be it. However many who work for any government municipality will tell you that getting chummy with the higher ups accelerates promotions, etc over those that deserve them more and don't kiss up. I'm not saying that's what he does but Acworth needs to be fair and let all those eligible apply. Don't just let a hand-picked candidate get the job.
anonymous
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April 16, 2012
With all the retirements at Cobb County Police you would think Acworth could hire someone better qualified that an ex strip club owner! Maybe Acworth should have Sheriff Garrison do a real background on Dennard and then see if they really want him as Chief after that.
concerned citizen!!!
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April 15, 2012
Why yes only 9 years -it is ALL in those that you know or who you BUFFALO!!!! And yes he did own a strip club-- it should be opened up to others who are much more qualified than this man--9 years are you kidding me--he's still a rookie in law enforcement!!! And I believe most of that time has been behind a desk --not in the field--how much do you learn there. I am sure there are many more in the police department as well as outside in other police departments that could really come in and make a difference in this community!!!! Wake up Acworth you are going to be the laughing stock of Cobb County!!!!! Really????????????
Check Around
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April 15, 2012
Dennard has a very shady background including being part owner of a very dirty strip club (Cypress Lounge). Marietta PD wouldn't even hire the guy as a patrol officer. Good luck with this guy Acworth!
Buba J
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April 15, 2012
Security Industry! Ha, that's funny, he was a locksmith in Kennesaw (Big Shanty Locksmith). And that college degrees seem a little suspicious since he lives just down the street from Kennesaw State University but gets a degree from out of town? Lets see, he was a truck driver, a locksmith, ran a strip club and is now the Chief in Acworth????
cobbobserver
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April 13, 2012
Hate to bring the party down a bit but upon reading this article I'm left wondering why someone who has only 9 years of law enforcement experience ("security industry" doesn't count) practically guaranteed the job of chief of police? How come he couldn't be acting chief ahd the position opened to all eligible applicants (I'm sure Acworth has someone who has more experience and less questionable ethics). I guess it really is all about who you know...
did more
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April 13, 2012
I did more with Wayne than just work with him. As did so many others. May be calling on you BIG boy for a favor or few. GOOD TIMES!!!! Love the stripping world as You do to Wayne.
Connie R.
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April 13, 2012
I hate to admite it but I worked at that strip club on Canton Road years ago and yes Wayne Dennard hired me. He was a "silent partner" in the club and I heard he later became an Acworth Police Officer. Kind of strange career change isn't it?
Megan Strange
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April 13, 2012
Congratulations to both men! So grateful for the leadership of Chief Wilkie and Major Dennard in the Acworth community!
BRK
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April 12, 2012
Isn't this the same Wayne Dennard that use to own a strip club in Marietta? I guess they don't check their backgrounds very well.....
GASAAZGal
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April 12, 2012
Best wishes, Dr. Wilkie!

Ronnie Heaton
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April 12, 2012
We have been blessed to have both of these fine Christian men to head up our police force. They have done a great job for our community and have moved us forward. I wish the best to both of them and their families. I have enjoyed their friendship over the years and feel we have lived in a safe area.
Jerry Ascher
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April 12, 2012
My oldest son is enrolling at BJU this fall, majoring in criminal justice. Your paths will cross, I'm sure. It's great to read this great article about someone who's life will be influencing your own children.
anonymous
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April 12, 2012
If you work hard, study and be nice to others, you will go far. Congratulations and continued sucess to these men.
Phil Golson
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April 12, 2012
Congratulations, Chief Wilkie, on this new development in your life. As one who has seen firsthand your service to community, to faith, and to law, I know you will do a fantastic job pouring those gifts into the next generation of law enforcement.
Virginia S. Wood
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April 12, 2012
Congratulations, Major Dennard!
Mike Chamblee
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April 13, 2012
BSU has gained an incredible director in Chief Wilkie, while the city of Acworth has gained a reliable and competent law enforcement professional in Major Dennard! Many congrats and prayers to you both.
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