Savannah police won't say why ranking officer on leave

Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2011 7:22 AM
Last updated 1:33 PM
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SAVANNAH, Ga. -- One of the Savannah-Chatham police department’s highest-ranking officers has been placed on administrative leave, and police are refusing to say why.

“That’s a personnel issue,” Chief Willie Lovett said.

Maj. Gerry Long has been on leave, with pay, since Friday. Long, 53, is one of the department’s two patrol commanders.

In July, she was placed in charge of the West Chatham, Southside and Islands precincts as well as the traffic unit, the special weapons and tactics unit, the bomb squad and the hostage negotiation team. She previously headed up the department’s criminal investigations division, a position she held for a little more than 6 months, and has worked in internal affairs and information management.

Long said she didn’t think it was appropriate to comment on the matter.

The City Council learned that Long was on leave in a terse memo from City Manager Rochelle Small-Toney sent Friday.

According to the memo, Long would remain on leave “pending the results of an investigation.”

“No further information is available at this time,” Small-Toney wrote in the memo. “I will notify you of details as they become available for disclosure.”

City of Savannah spokesman Bret Bell said Tuesday night he didn’t know details on the matter.

“This is an action that was taken by the police chief,” he said. “It’s within his purview.”

A 29-year veteran of the metro police department, Long is in charge of securing the city’s St. Patrick’s Day festivities and also ran security for the G-8 summit in 2004. She was promoted to the rank of major in 2007 and is a member of the department’s executive staff.

Before being promoted to major, Long was captain of the department’s downtown precinct from 2000 to 2007, where she garnered praise as for her approachability and communication skills.

“We liked working with Capt. Long because of the level of communication,” Kristin Fiano, who worked with Long on the Downtown Precinct Community Advisory Committee, said at Long’s 2007 promotion ceremony. “She is accessible and competent, just fantastic to work with.”

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