Houston & Peach

Will acting Warner Robins police chief get the job? Mayor gives review

Mayor Randy Toms talks about Warner Robins police command changes

Warner Robins police Assistant Chief John Wagner was named acting chief Tuesday after the sudden retirement of Police Chief Brett Evans. Evans is on paid administrative leave until his official retirement date of April 19.
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Warner Robins police Assistant Chief John Wagner was named acting chief Tuesday after the sudden retirement of Police Chief Brett Evans. Evans is on paid administrative leave until his official retirement date of April 19.

Warner Robins Acting Police Chief John Wagner will keep “acting” in his title for a while more, but he appears on track for the permanent job.

Mayor Randy Toms, who makes appointments for department heads, says he expects to name Wagner to the job permanently after Wagner serves six months as acting chief. The appointment would have to be approved by the City Council.

Toms said recent council policy is for new department heads to serve in an acting role for six months before a permanent appointment is made.

“I have every intention, unless the unforeseeable happens, that he is going to be appointed by me and then will be confirmed by council,” Toms said Monday.

Wagner could not be reached for comment.

Wagner, who had served as assistant chief, was named acting chief March 5 after longtime Chief Brett Evans retired under pressure from the council. Toms said Wagner has done a good job so far and has been active as the face of the department.

“Several of the council have said how pleased they are with the direction John has taken,” Toms said. “We are seeing some changes. The way he is doing things is a little bit different. He’s a little more active with the officers and a little more hands on.”

One issue with the department, as with most law enforcement agencies, has been filling vacant positions. Toms said Wagner has been active in attending job fairs to recruit new officers.

Evans started working with the department in 1987 as a patrol officer and became chief in 2003. Wagner has served as a Warner Robins police officer for 27 years.

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