Grovetown leaders chose on Monday to promote Capt. Gary Owens to director of the Department of Public Safety, a position vacated in April by former director Al Robinson.
Owens took over as department head Tuesday. He had been serving as the interim director and the public information officer.
“He got unanimous support from all four council people to promote him to chief,” Mayor George James said of Owens’ endorsement during a Monday city council meeting.
Owens served as interim director for two months since Robinson stepped down and has already made some changes like creating a canine unit and improving the daily work environment for employees.
“Some things have changed,” Owens said. “It’s like the department is uplifted.”
Council members interviewed Owens, the only applicant from within the department, during an executive session at Monday’s monthly meeting. After the meeting, they offered him the job.
“All four council people felt Gary would be a good fit and be able to do the job,” James said.
Robinson was placed on administrative leave in March and resigned April 17 amid a private investigation into allegations of misconduct.
“It is not a negative thing,” Owens said. “The past is the past. We’re going to move forward.”
James said he expects Owens’ promotion to lead to some positive changes in the department.
“He’s got a lot of good ideas,” James said. “I think it is going to improve.”
Owens has 26 years of law enforcement experience and has worked with 17 years at the Grovetown Department of Public Safety.