February 22, 2018 11:20:00 AM
Columbus Police Department's head investigator Capt. Brent Swan is leaving for a job with Lowndes County Sheriff's Office, and it appears he's taking a significant pay cut to do it.
Multiple city officials, including two city councilmen, confirmed to The Dispatch Swan's resignation was announced during executive session at Tuesday's council meeting. He has more than 20 years of law enforcement experience and joined CPD as the commander of CPD's criminal investigation division in 2014.
LCSO Chief Deputy Marc Miley said Swan will start in March working under Capt. Greg Wright in the county's investigation division with a starting pay of $16.22 per hour -- which translates to a base pay of $33,737 annually, not counting overtime.
That starkly contrasts to the $59,037 annual salary Swan receives from the city. Human Resources Director Pat Mitchell she hasn't received Swan's resignation letter yet, and as far as she knows he is not withdrawing retirement from the city to supplement his LCSO pay.
"My choice is a personal decision, which I feel is in my best interest," Swan said. "I am thankful to Sheriff (Mike) Arledge offering me a position on his team. He has successfully created an environment where law enforcement professional want to work."
Swan did not specifically address the pay cut.
Police Chief Fred Shelton, who was hired in January to lead CPD, applauded Swan's service to CPD.
"I appreciate all the years of work and leadership from Captain Swan at the Columbus Police Department," Shelton said in a statement released to The Dispatch. "We wish him well in his new position at the Lowndes County Sheriff's Office. We will continue to work together at the Columbus Police Department with the sheriff's office and Captain Swan's position there will allow this relationship to continue to grow."
Mickens: 'We keep losing good people'
Ward 5 Councilman Stephen Jones said he first heard of Swan's departure at Tuesday's council meeting.
"I hate that he's leaving," Ward 5 Councilman Stephen Jones told The Dispatch, adding Swan has been a "great asset to the department."
Jones added he wants the city to look at all possible avenues for finding the right replacement for Swan.
"I would hope we would bring in the best person, whether it's from inside or outside (the department)," he said.
Ward 2 Councilman Joseph Mickens described Swan as a man of citizenship and integrity.
"He did his job," Mickens said. "I hate to see him go. ... We keep losing good people. I just don't know why. I wish there was something we could do to keep him."
Four vacancies in investigation
Swan's departure marks the fourth CPD investigator either retiring, resigning or being transferred out of the division.
Andy Hood, who has been with the department three years, announced last month he planned to retire later this year. Two other investigators have recently been promoted and transferred to patrol.
Shelton said he has a plan in place for replacing those investigators, though he didn't offer The Dispatch specifics.
"We knew they were going to be some personnel changes, and we have already implemented a plan to staff these positions," Shelton said. "We will continue to serve the citizens of Columbus as we do every day."