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Thomasville's police chief announces retirement; see what's next in the search for his replacement

Letteney said he is proud of the relationships he has made and the programs the department has implemented.
Posted at 12:08 PM, Nov 15, 2023
and last updated 2023-11-15 12:08:37-05
  • Thomasville Police Chief John Letteney is set to retire January 12, 2024.
  • Letteney’s career with TPD began in 2021.
  • See what leaders are saying about the decision in a news release from the city below.


Thomasville Police Chief John Letteney has formally announced his retirement on November 13, 2023. After three years of service to the citizens of Thomasville, Letteney’s last day as Chief of Police will be effective January 12, 2024.

“The decision to retire has not been an easy one, but I feel this is the right time,” said Chief Letteney. “Through deliberate succession planning and leadership training, as well as a comprehensive reorganization of the department with improved written policies and procedures, I believe the right people are in place, with their skills, abilities and perspective enhanced, and they are poised to continue the outstanding service this department provides to the citizens of Thomasville.”

Letteney’s career with TPD began in 2021 after serving as Chief of Police in Apex, North Carolina. Prior to this, Letteney worked for the Southern Pines Police Department in Southern Pines, North Carolina for seven years and the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office in Rochester, New York for 24 years. Letteney has also held numerous leadership positions with the International Association of Chiefs of Police, serving most recently as president for 2023.

Thomasville City Manager Alan Carson said the impact of Letteney’s leadership has been significant for TPD. “John has been an outstanding leader for the Thomasville Police Department, and I am proud of the strides he has made during his tenure here. His leadership with the IACP has allowed him to bring new ideas and programs back to our staff, which he has used to enhance the great work that is a cornerstone of this department. While we will miss John and the leadership he provides, we wish him well as he enters retirement, and we thank him for his service to the citizens of Thomasville.”

Carson said that the search for TPD’s new Chief is already underway, utilizing the same process that was implemented in 2020 when Chief Troy Rich retired. “We have contracted with the Georgia Association of Police Chiefs to provide the initial assessment of our candidates and select those that are best suited to our position,” said Carson. “Our next step will be to conduct interviews with the finalists, which we hope to complete by early December.”

During his tenure with TPD, Letteney said that he is proud of the relationships he has made and the programs the department has implemented. “From enhanced public safety relationships and employee safety and wellness programs, to adoption of crime reduction techniques and equipment, to earning Agency Certification of the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police and Advanced Reaccreditation by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, we have accomplished a great deal in three years,” he said. “Most notably, TPD has completed the IACP One Mind Campaign and was the first agency in Georgia to complete the requirements of the IACP Trust Building Campaign. Time and again, the executive and command staff have come together in a collaborative manner to lead and serve the citizens of Thomasville. I am proud of their accomplishments.”

While leaving the City of Thomasville is bittersweet, Letteney said that he looks forward to working with staff for a smooth transition. “I have always believed that the best way for change such as this to occur is when there is an overlap between the outgoing and incoming leadership to help ease the transition,” he said. “It should almost work akin to a relay race, where one runner helps the next runner get up to speed so that the baton can be passed smoothly. I am confident that we are in a good place for this transition, and I look forward to assisting both the department and the new chief in any way possible.”