COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) — As he prepares to retire, Columbus Police Chief Freddie Blackmon releases a statement on his experience in the department.

Blackmon will retire as chief midnight on Sunday, April 30. He has been on administrative leave since April 6 after Columbus councilors voted to accept his retirement.

For months, the police chief had been under fire as the department wrestled with a discrimination lawsuit, staffing shortages and morale issues.

Blackmon took a negotiated buy-out from council that paid $400,000. It also keeps him on city insurance until 2030.

You can read Blackmon’s statement below:

“After 37 years with the Columbus Police Department, I will enter retirement effective April 30, 2023. I will be leaving what I’ve known best for the last nearly four decades. It was not an easy decision, but I did what I felt was best for my family and I.

I became the Chief of Police in November 2020, overseeing the department amid rising violent crime at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and amid racial tensions across the country. Under my nearly 2.5 years of leadership, we have recovered a record number of illegal guns, achieved a double-digit reduction in violent crime in 2022, evolved our recruitment efforts that yielded more than 110 new police hires, expanded resources for officer wellness, and many other benefits. While I was not afforded the opportunity to implement the strategic plan based on recommendations from an independent consulting firm, I know that more great things are in store for the men and women of the Columbus Police Department.

I want to personally thank my supporters who showed up and spoke on my behalf in the face of adversity. While the recent events sparked controversy, it’s important to understand that everything happens for a reason. What is even more important is for citizens to exercise their right to vote, especially in local elections. It is imperative that the leaders we elect have the best interest of those they represent at heart.

It has been a great honor to work alongside the men and women of the Columbus Police Department. I will continue to pray for their coming and going in hopes that all officers return home to their families safely at the end of their shift.

May God bless the city of Columbus, its citizens and the men and women who truly uphold their oaths daily to serve and protect this city.”
– Columbus Police Chief Freddie Blackmon

Previous Reports: