Valdosta Police Department Release
Valdosta, GA - Valdosta Chief of Police Frank Simons has announced his retirement from the City of Valdosta, effective Jan. 1, 2013, following 17 ½ years of public service “to protect and serve” the city of Valdosta and its citizens.
In June 1995, Valdosta City Manager Larry Hanson—then interim city manager—hired Chief Simons as one of his first tasks in office and at a time when the city department was without a chief and was facing many challenges. Chief Simons rebuilt the department and restored the trust and confidence of the community. Under Chief Simons’ leadership and with strong mayor and council support, the VPD regained credibility with state and federal agencies and became state certified and nationally accredited within just five years.
Among a long list of accomplishments, Chief Simons managed the complete renovation of the headquarters facility, implemented and funded new and modern training for all personnel, implemented a new pay classification plan, improved the department’s equipment and vehicle fleet, and made substantial advancements in the use of technology to improve service as well as efficiency for officers. The department added highly-qualified professionals in each bureau and implemented new divisions such as the Power Squad, Narcotics Squad, and special tactical teams with highly trained personnel.
Under his leadership, the department successfully implemented many innovative programs and worked collaboratively with other local, state and federal agencies to address common issues associated with crime. He also served as the city’s primary member on the steering committee that worked to design and construct the 800 MGZ radio system currently in use in Valdosta and Lowndes County. This state of the art system allowed the city to be a leader in the use of mobile data computers and technology to improve service as well as improve working conditions for the department personnel.
The VPD has also been on the cutting edge in the use of ballistics technology and is one of the few agencies in the nation to receive the most modern ballistics microscope to assist in solving crimes. In 2010, under the leadership of Chief Simons, the Valdosta/Lowndes Regional Crime Laboratory opened its doors and houses crime scene personnel from both the VPD and the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office, a forensic specialist, an evidence custodian and a crime laboratory director. The joint Crime Lab facility has helped to resolve crimes as well as assist in the timely prosecution of criminal cases.
The VPD is the city’s largest department with 175 employees and an operating budget of over $13 million. Its accolades include state certification, national accreditation, and being recognized internationally as a Flagship Agency by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) on several occasions. The VPD has been reaccredited by CALEA four times since receiving the initial accreditation. Many of the VPD’s policies are held up as models for agencies around the country to utilize.
“Frank has set the standard very high and has always expected the best from himself as well as all the men and women of the department,” said Mayor John Gayle. “The VPD is highly respected, full of talented professionals, and is a place where graduates of the Police Academy and others seek employment. Frank’s tremendous leadership ability, integrity and unwavering commitment to do what is right are the qualities that place him at the top of his profession.”
Chief Simons began his career in law enforcement as a Police Officer in Americus, Ga., and moved through the ranks to detective at the Columbus Police Department. He worked as an Instructor at the Regional Police Academy in Tifton, Ga., and later became the Director of the Academy. In 1987, he became the Chief of the Perry Police Department. During his tenure, he modernized the department and the agency was nationally accredited in 1995. Throughout his career, Chief Simons has continued to impact and improve the law enforcement profession. He has served as the President of the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police, as a member of the Peace Officers Standards and Training Council, and on numerous committees through the years. He also received the highest honor in his profession when selected by his peers for the 2005 Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police Outstanding Chief of the Year.
In January, Chief Simons will retire with over 41 years in public safety.
“Frank is a person I admire and respect as a professional, colleague and friend,” said Hanson. “Serving in demanding public positions is very stressful, and many sacrifices are made for the good of the city and its citizens. Frank will be sorely missed, but I am truly happy that he and his wife Kathy can enjoy a retirement together and all that life has to offer.”
The City of Valdosta will conduct a professional search for the most qualified candidate to take over the reins as Chief of Police and oversee the VPD’s outstanding agency.