Cordele Police Chief Hathaway Resigns

Published 1:28 pm Thursday, February 17, 2022

 Mike Hathaway


By Neil B. McGahee

Managing Editor

Citing differing philosophies on community policing, newly hired Cordele Police Chief Mike Hathaway and five other CPD officers, resigned Thursday February 17.

He was hired in September with 31 years of experience at the Marietta Police Department.

His resignation was a culmination of weeks of uncertainty that began when City Hall security cameras caught Commission Chairman Joshua Deriso removing a pro police poster from the waiting area of the chief’s office.

“That affected a lot of people and dampened the spirit of many of our officers,” Hathaway said. “To know that a city leader would come into our office and remove that poster is just hard to understand.

“I told Ms. Redding and Chairman Deriso that he should have to go to the police department and explain to the officers why he did it.”

Deriso refused, saying his answer was on his web page however a check of his pages revealed only a quote from the Bible and one from Abraham Lincoln.

Along with Hathaway, newly hired Capt. Jaylon Heard and four officers resigned.

There has been no statement as to who might be the interim chief.



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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.