Mayor Skip Henderson has turned to a 34-year Columbus Police veteran to be the department’s next chief.
Major Freddie Blackmon will become chief this weekend when longtime Chief Ricky Boren relinquishes his command at midnight Saturday.
“We did a nationwide search,” Henderson said. “We felt like the police department, employs of the police department and the citizens of Columbus deserved the most qualified individual available. And we were thrilled to discover the best available candidate was already working in the Columbus Police Department.”
Blackmon will serve in an interim role until Nov. 17, when the mayor’s recommendation will be put to a vote of council.
Boren has been with the department for 49 years, the last 16 as chief. He is the longest-serving chief in the history of the department. Boren requested that there be no formal ceremony for his retirement and the city is honoring that request, Henderson said.
Blackmon, a Columbus native and Kendrick High graduate, also has a lengthy and varied career with the department.
According to a news release from the city, Blackmon started his career in law enforcement as a patrol officer in 1986 and advanced through the ranks of sergeant, lieutenant, and captain.
Blackmon was promoted to major in 2014 to oversee the Office of Professional Standards where he conducted Internal Affairs investigations of all officer involved shootings and employee misconduct; oversaw the department’s national re-accreditation and state re-certification process; and directed criminal intelligence/crime analysis operations to identify crime trends and provide intelligence led policing data.
Blackmon has a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and a master’s degree in Human Resources Management. He is a graduate of the FBI National Academy, a state of Georgia P.O.S.T. Certified General Instructor, and completed the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police Executive Training.
The Chief of Police is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Police Department, the management and direction of a workforce of 488 sworn officer positions and 107 civilian personnel, and an annual budget of $40.2 million.
Blackmon becomes the second black police chief in the city’s history. Willie Dozier, who Boren succeeded, was the first.