COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) — Columbus Police Chief Freddie Blackmon’s job performance has been the topic of discussion among a number of city councilors.
WRBL has talked to multiple city councilors today and asked them a couple of questions. The first one was if they were involved in discussions with other Columbus Council members regarding Chief Blackmon’s job performance.
Five of the six WRBL interviewed said they had been involved in those discussions.
Blackmon has been the city’s police chief since November 2020. His leadership was questioned by the Fraternal Order of Police a year ago.
Earlier this month a Jensen Hughes study of the Columbus Police Department found that there were transparency and leadership issues within the department.
Councilors Judy Thomas, John House, Charmaine Crabb, Walker Garrett and Toyia Tucker – said there have been discussions about Blackmon’s job performance.
The councilors WRBL talked to would not get specific about those discussions. But Tucker did say her discussions with her colleagues centered around wanting an executive session.
Joanne Cogle declined to comment. WRBL is awaiting responses from Gary Allen, Bruce Huff, Glenn Davis, and Pops Barnes.
City Attorney Clifton Fay tells WRBL there will be a closed session at 4 Tuesday afternoon to discuss real estate acquisition and personnel matters. This comes before the 5:30 scheduled meeting at the City Services Center.
That meeting promises to be a long one. The public agenda, which limits comments to 5 minutes, has at least 18 people signed up to speak. Most of them want to talk about public safety.
Garrett told WRBL that councilors were looking at all aspects of law enforcement, however – and I quote — “Obviously, leadership is being looked at.”
Mayor Skip Henderson was careful in his words Monday afternoon.
“I haven’t been involved in any of those discussions,” Henderson said. “But I understand that there have been some discussions between councilors.”
He did say he had been in discussions about the Jensen Hughes report.
“We have had some discussions about the police department and the Jensen Hughes report, but no, I have not been involved in those discussions,” he said.
Councilors were asked if there was a move to terminate Blackmon. None of the councilors WRBL interviewed would go there.
“I am not going to discuss personnel matters,” House said. “Of course, we are concerned about the status of the Columbus Police Department. That’s why we talk.”
If city council did try to fire the chief without the support of the mayor, it would take a super-majority of seven votes.
Two weeks ago, Columbus Council gave Chief Blackmon until March 14 to come back with a strategic plan to implement ways to recommendations made by Jenson Hughes. The study was privately funded by Columbus businesses.