SAVANNAH, Ga. — An independent investigation of the Savannah-Chatham Police Department is expected to last about two more months, and more officers may be forced out of the department depending on the findings.
The brief update on Alexandria, Va.-based MDB International’s investigation and the police department was provided by City Manager Stephanie Cutter and Interim Police Chief Julie Tolbert during a news conference Monday.
Cutter said the situation at the police department has turned a corner and preparations are being made to begin recruiting a new police chief, about five months after the sudden retirement of former Police Chief Willie Lovett preceded a series of department firings and threats of litigation.
Cutter and Tolbert said substantial improvements have been made since issues within the department surfaced, while acknowledging the matter has not been fully resolved.
The search for a new chief will be national, although Cutter said that does not mean they will hire from outside the department.
“What we are looking for is the best candidate,” she said.
After being hired in the wake of Lovett’s departure on Sept. 27, MDB International is still conducting an investigation that could last another 60 days, Cutter said.
The city, so far, has paid the firm $178,717, said city spokesman Bret Bell.
Cutter said the city has no plans to settle with the clients of attorney Will Claiborne, who represents 11 current and former officers alleging damages suffered as a result of police misconduct.
Tolbert said more employees may be fired based on findings of the investigation firm.
“We are not finished yet,” she said.