Dennard, 50, thanked the mayor, aldermen and city manager for standing with him this week as questions arose about his involvement with a now-defunct strip club two decades ago.
“As I think about what the duties of police and law enforcement are, it is to set the path for this police department,” Dennard said during the meeting. “It’s also my responsibility to be a conduit between (officers) and the community.”
An overflowing crowd packed with Dennard’s supporters applauded him several times during the night. The crowd included police officers in Acworth and other areas, as well as Acworth and Kennesaw officials.
Dennard will be paid $80,500 annually under his contract, which runs through Dec. 31, 2014. The contract will be reviewed after six months, according to the city.
As police chief, Dennard will oversee a department with 40 sworn officers, plus 16 civilian employees. The city has its own jail and is planning to build a new police headquarters.
Outgoing police chief Michael Wilkie resigned to become director of the criminal justice program at Bob Jones University in Greenville, S.C. He had served as head of the department since 2002.
Dennard has worked his entire nine-year law enforcement career with the Acworth Police Department. A 1980 Sprayberry High School graduate, he earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Thomas University in Thomasville. He is expected to receive a master’s in public administration from Columbus State University in May. He is also a FBI National Academy graduate.
Dennard has been married 16 years to his current wife, Melinda, and he has two grown children and two young daughters who attend North Cobb Christian School. He also has two grandchildren.