Centerville police chief steps down mere months after being hired

In April, Centerville police Chief Ronald Rodgers is pictured his office at the department's headquarters on Church Street.
In April, Centerville police Chief Ronald Rodgers is pictured his office at the department's headquarters on Church Street. bcabell@macon.com

Amid continuing upheaval in this town’s police department, its top cop resigned Tuesday.

Chief Ronald Rodgers said he stepped down as chief after an executive session during a regularly scheduled city council gathering.

But he and others familiar with the particulars of the resignation offered few details as to why it happened.

After Tuesday’s work session, Mayor John Harley said the council had given Rodgers the opportunity to resign and he chose to do so.

Harley and council members declined to give a reason why Rodgers was offered the opportunity to resign.

After the work session, Rodgers was in the City Hall parking lot cleaning out personal items from his official police vehicle.

When asked about his resignation, Rodgers said, “I have no idea why — it’s part of this business. I submitted my resignation.”

Rodgers, a former Macon police officer, began work as Centerville’s chief just over seven months ago in early March.

He was hired in February after a search and selection that included going through a panel of police administrators from across the state.

After a lengthy, closed executive session which also involved other personnel matters, council members returned to the open work session and Councilman Ed Armijo made the initial announcement.

He said the city had decided to “take a new turn” and that Rodgers had resigned effective Tuesday night. Armijo said the city and its police department would “head in a better direction.”

In the meeting, Councilman Randall Wright, who serves as councilman with oversight of the police department, said “different things happen” and that the mayor and council were going to “take the city in a different direction.”

After the meeting, as he was being handed Rodgers’ badge, gun and keys to the police station by another council member, Wright said the city would be seeking a new chief.

Armijo reiterated after the meeting that the city would not be giving any details at this time about the resignation or the council’s apparent call for it.

Harley also agreed there would be no details given at this time.

Rodgers’ hiring came after difficulties regarding the police department’s top spot.

Former chief Sidney Andrews resigned from the post in June 2015.

Then the council tried to provide leadership when a council member resigned his seat in July 2015 and became the department’s head in a newly created civilian position that was dubbed “director of police services.”

That solution did not last and was abolished in October 2015. The city then asked a member of the Houston County Sheriff's Office take over leadership temporarily.

That leader stayed at the helm until mid-December 2015.

The council gave no indication when the search for a new chief will begin.

Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated the name of former Centerville police Chief Sidney Andrews.