Cordele has a new police chief

Published 8:31 am Thursday, September 16, 2021


By Neil McGahee
Managing Editor

Mike Hathaway, Cordele’s new police chief, was introduced Tuesday at the Cordele City Commission meeting.
He retired from the Marietta Police Department in 2016 and moved to Cordele to be closer to grandchildren.
Hathaway said he is committed to the Community Policing philosophy as a way to connect with the community and build trust and strong relationships that will help combat crime and improve the quality of life within the city.
Community policing, or community-oriented policing focuses on developing relationships with community members and build relationships within the community — including local agencies — in order to reduce social disorder. Community policing aims to reduce low-level crime, but it can reduce serious crime as well. The concept stresses problem oriented and intelligence led policing, which contrasts with the reactive policing strategies that were predominant in the late 20th century.
He holds a bachelors’ degree in Criminal Justice Administration from Columbia Southern University. He attended the FBI National Academy in Quantico, VA in 2007, the Senior Management Institute for Police in Boston, MA in 2008, Columbus State University Professional Management Program in 2003 and Strategic Leadership through Southern Police Institute in 2001.
Hathaway has been married to his wife, Debbie, for 33 years. They have two adult daughters and two grandchildren. They moved to Cordele in 2020 to be closer to their grandchildren.
He said he looks forward to working alongside the men and women of the Cordele Police Department and the opportunity to serve the citizens of Cordele.
He will begin his duties on Sept. 27.

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Beal-Shephard tries to weather the storm over City HallBy Neil B. McGahee Managing Editor Cordele City Commissioner Vesta Beal-Shephard was elected in 2001 to represent the people of Ward One. By all accounts, she has done a very good job of relating to the citizens living in her ward. Recently, however, a dark cloud has settled over City Hall. From the first day of his term, newly-elected commission chairman Joshua Antwan Deriso began taking verbal snipes on social media at some of the other commissioners. Shephard says she just ignored it at first but on April 9, Deriso posted on Facebook “…It was much anticipated for Comm. Rainey to be against change. Comission (sp) Shephard fights against me the hardest…does not know much about government at all…She needs to be voted out next year 2023.” A few days later, he posted live saying …“I am totally over the games, the political stuff…a lot of people want to make what I said about Commissioner Shephard something about disagreement with Commissioner Shephard. It was her ignorance and short-sightedness…not able to understand what we can do as a government. “When there were people in charge that didn’t look like us…white people… she didn’t question anything. Since I became chairman, she has blocked everything…you don’t know what you are doing; you don’t know what you are talking about.” Shephard winces as she listens to Deriso. “I don’t do drama and I don’t do pettiness,” she said. “I refute everything he has said about me. I’m not angry with Josh; I am somewhat disturbed that he has targeted me, a citizen of Cordele; a black female…he accused me of loving white folks. Well I do love white folks, and brown folks and black folks — Haitian, Jamaican, Indian, Cuban, Mexican — I have no discrimination to anyone. My job is to facilitate for people in this ward and when I vote, I vote my conviction.” Shephard said she doesn’t know why Deriso has such hard feelings against her. “It’s so sad, I have to say that I never saw it coming,” she said. ”But I have to voice my opinion.” But one sad thing has evolved from this. “This is the first time I have been discriminated against by a fellow commissioner,” she said. “I used to invite people to my home if they had a problem. But I had to stop that. If you want to meet with me, we will have to go to a public area or to my office at city hall. I am going to keep my distance for the simple reason that I don’t want to endanger myself.