Johns Creek announced the appointment of a new police chief Monday night, with veteran law enforcement official Mark J. Mitchell being set to be sworn into office June 21.

City Manager Ed Densmore announced the appointment of Mitchell, who has spend 28 years in law enforcement. Mitchell most recently served as the chief of staff for the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice and before that was the police chief for the city of Canton.

He succeeds Chris Byers, who resigned as Johns Creek’s police chief this past August after writing a controversial Facebook post about Black Lives Matter.

Mitchell becomes the third police chief in the city’s 14-year history (Densmore was the first before stepping down to become City Manager) and will oversee a staff of 79 sworn police positions and more than a dozen civilian staff, according to city officials.

“I am honored to be appointed as the next Chief of Police for Johns Creek and I am eager to share my vision for establishing a winning culture of trust, respect, inclusion, and professional development within the department,” Mitchell said. “I am confident my experience and my approach to 21st Century Policing will have a positive impact within the community.”

Johns Creek selected the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) to manage the national search for police chief. Officials said the city and the IACP defined the candidate profile through stakeholder interviews, an evaluation of the policing environment and connecting with elected and appointed leaders, department heads, members of the Johns Creek Police Department and members of the community.

The city and IACP then conducted a community survey of Johns Creek residents to help ascertain community concerns and the public’s desired qualifications and attributes for a new chief.

“Following an exhaustive search process, the IACP then identified a group of highly-qualified candidates and coordinated a community panel interview process, a law enforcement/Police Chief panel interview process, and an internal city staff panel interview process,” a statement from the city said. “At the conclusion of the panel interviews, City Manager Densmore and the IACP interviewed the top final candidates and reviewed and discussed all panel input to allow Densmore to select a final candidate for the position.”

Densmore said Mitchell was the ideal candidate for the position.

“With almost three decades of law enforcement experience, his knowledge of public engagement, building trust and creating lasting relationships within diverse communities, Mark is an ideal fit for our community,” Densmore said. “He has an intimate understanding of what it takes to run an agency the size of ours and he brings an appreciation for the exceptional level of service Johns Creek residents expect and deserve.”

Mitchell received a master’s degree in Criminal Justice from Troy University and is a graduate of the 207th Session of the FBI National Academy. He has more than 14 years of command level experience in police administration, criminal investigations, special operations, juvenile justice, and behavioral issues including mental illness or crisis intervention, according to Johns Creek officials.

“I am confident Mark will be an outstanding Chief who will proactively and respectfully engage with our community to build upon public trust, promote inclusion, and foster a confidence within the department,” Johns Creek Mayor Mike Bodker said. “He is a tremendous asset for our city and we look forward to his guidance and leadership in helping keep Johns Creek one of the safest cities in the country.”

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