WARNER ROBINS, Ga. — The intermittent traffic outside the Warner Robins Police Department might be a good metaphor for the recent turbulence inside its top job. It's often felt, but only sometimes visible on camera.
For months, there’s been talk about a city council meeting last summer where now-ousted police chief Brett Evans was said to have been given a mandate to hire more officers and to make sure some of the hires were minorities
Now, 13WMAZ has written proof.
It comes in the form of meeting minutes recently obtained from a closed session held in June 2018.
The documents confirm mayor and council agreed to tell “Chief Evans to lower the POST score to 70 and he had 60 days to hire net 10 police officers with half being minorities.”
The news was a surprise to now-acting chief John Wagner when we told him about it Wednesday.
"(I'm) not privy to any closed session notes by any means," he said.
In order to have the power to arrest someone in Georgia, all law enforcement officers must attend Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) school in Monroe County.
Officers are trained and tested on a number of topics, including shooting, driving, and knowledge of state law.
Wagner says the state requires a score of 70 percent or better to pass each assessment, but for many years, the Warner Robins Police Department required at least an 80 percent or better for its officers.
However, Wagner says the now-lowered standard will not affect the quality of officers at the department.
"I think we’re still at a point where we still have the best candidates, no matter what, and regardless of scores or anything like that, we do get the best people," said Wagner.
When 13WMAZ asked Wagner if he intended to change the requirements now that he’s leading the department, he said if council set the number at 70 percent, then the decision was out of his hands.
The Bibb County Sheriff's Office and Houston County Sheriff's Office each require 70 percent POST assessment scores or better for their deputies.