Charles “Chuck” Hadden is the new chief of the Centerville Police Department.
Hadden, a 10-year veteran of the department who held the senior officer rank of captain, was unanimously appointment Tuesday by Centerville’s mayor and City Council to fill the vacant spot.
Councilman Randall Wright, who has council oversight of the department, made the announcement during a regular monthly work session.
“(Hadden) has done a fantastic job as acting chief since September when the former chief stepped down,” Wright told The Telegraph. “I don’t see a better person for the job. The personnel at the department are behind him 100 percent.”
The vote made Hadden police chief effective immediately at a salary of $63,000 a year.
Mayor John Harley said it was a proud moment and said Hadden had been the department’s senior officer for 15 months. Harley said each time Hadden had been called on he had “stepped up and done a wonderful job.”
Wright said the entire council was behind Hadden and that Hadden’s past six months leading the department served as “the best interview we could have had for a new chief.”
When asked what Hadden’s greatest qualification for the role was, Wright said, “The one that comes to mind is the fact there are no problems in the department. The department has been running smoothly with no complaints from personnel or the public. We’ve seen a real difference — night and day.”
Wright said Hadden joined the department as a patrolman and worked his way up.
Hadden, 39, is a Jones County High School graduate who enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps following graduation. He is a combat veteran and said he served four years as a Marine then became a member of the Georgia Army National Guard. As a guardsman, he volunteered and deployed to Iraq serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom III for nine months during 2005-2006.
Following his time in service, Hadden said he attended the Middle Georgia Police Academy at his own expense and then joined the Centerville police in 2007.
He said he is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Columbia Southern University which he expects to have in 2018. He then plans to pursue an advanced degree in public administration and justice administration.
“It’s truly an honor to be considered worthy of the position of chief of police for the Centerville Police Department,” he said in an email. “Today is a great day for me, a great day for my department and a great day for the City of Centerville. I have to first thank God who has blessed me with so much and then thank my wife (Brandi) and kids for supporting me and always encouraging me. I have to thank the men and women of the Centerville Police Department who make it all work. We are a team and a family and I’m honored to serve beside them.”
Hadden said the safety of Centerville’s citizens and the general public is the department and his top priority “no matter the cost.”
Centerville has traveled a rocky road seeking lasting leadership for its police department following the resignation of a chief in 2015.
Following that resignation there was a short-lived attempt at having a former council member lead the department as a civilian that ended with the slot being abolished. Another hire to the chief position ended after three months when the council called for and received that chief’s resignation.
At one point in late 2016, leadership of the department was temporarily handed over to a member of the Houston County Sheriff’s Office for about three months.
Houston County Sheriff Cullen Talton and other members of his office were on hand for Hadden’s swearing in Tuesday. Talton told council members they had made an “excellent choice” in selecting Hadden. He said to Hadden, “Chuck, we’re proud of you and look forward to working with you.