Grovetown appoints interim director of public safety

Grovetown appoints interim director of public safety

GROVETOWN, GA (WFXG) - Grovetown city officials have named an interim director of public safety.

"We always want the person who's in charge to be the professional type person. That's what we're looking for," said George W. Jones III, mayor of Grovetown.

Capt. Scott Wheatley, head of the criminal investigations division, was appointed to the position after the former director, Gary Owens, resigned on Aug. 22.

"Scott's been with the department around 10 years," the mayor said. "He was our captain over investigations. Council met and decided to appoint Scott interim for the time being."

Owens was suspended for two days earlier in the month after the escape of two inmates from the town's detention center.

James said in a statement that Owens "created a hostile work environment for his employees and by his actions he hindered the operation of recovering the two escapees."

James also said, however, he was surprised to get a resignation letter from Owens.

"To a degree, I was and that's all I can really say," James said.

Samuel Kline, who started a petition to get Owens fired, says he is content.

"I'm really satisfied because he knew he was in the wrong," Kline said. "He knew he was totally wrong."

Kline claimed he was falsely accused of housing the escaped inmates and was thrown in jail for 21 days.

"I had nothing to do with those boys getting out of jail," Kline said. "I did not know they broke out of jail. If I do a crime, I'd do my time,  but if I didn't do a crime, I won't do your time."

Kline also said he hopes Wheatley will do a better job of making sure the citizens of Grovetown are safe.

"It's not all about getting a dollar. It's all about taking care of one another. We're a small community and we need to be taken care of."

We attempted to contact former chief Owens for comment but we weren't able to reach him.

Mayor Jones says they are hoping to find a permanent police chief by Nov. 1.

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