Former trooper named interim Harlem chief

Tuesday, Aug 30, 2011 1:23 PM
Last updated 7:18 PM
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The city of Harlem hired an interim public safety director Tuesday, a day after the resignation of former Chief Jesse Bowman.

City officials named Benje Cowart, a retired Georgia State Patrol troop commander, to serve as the interim director until a permanent replacement is hired.

“He’s just going to take the job on an interim basis. He has no interest in the post permanently,” Harlem City Manager Jason Rizner said. “We certainly look forward to his service and appreciate him stepping in to help us out during this transition time.”

Cowart was introduced as interim director Tuesday morning. Though Cowart’s naming came quickly, Rizner would not admit foreknowledge of Bowman’s resignation.

“I met with Jesse regularly,” Rizner said. “We talked through various issues on a regular basis. It wasn’t anything that we’ve been scheming on for a long time. .... We just kind of reached a mutual decision.”

Mayor Bobby Culpepper said, “We tried to have an organized approach to the whole situation.”

Bowman said Monday evening that he and city leaders did not “see eye to eye” on some upcoming issues.

A search will soon begin for a permanent replacement for Bowman.

“We’re going to go ahead and start that process,” Rizner said. “We definitely would like to get (the position) filled in the next couple of months.”

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