“It’s been everything I had hoped it would be,” newly appointed Hogansville Chief Brian Harr said to describe his first two weeks.
Retiring from Norcross Police Department officially at the beginning of the month, Harr said he was looking for a place to retire and found that in Hogansville.
After many years being raised and working in small towns in Virginia and Kansas, Harr said wanted to return to a small town after 21 years in the Atlanta area at Norcross.
“Hogansville attracted us because it’s still close enough to Atlanta … but it also still has a very hometown feel to it,” Harr said. “I guess they truly are a city of friendly people because I have not met anybody negative toward me or or my wife and it’s a good feeling.”
Harr said his small town roots and community outreach experiences have made him the right candidate for the position. He spent several years as a D.A.R.E officer interacting with the schools and was a community football coach for Tucker High School for 14 years, which he said helped him interact with young people and provided a different perspective of the community.
“I think I understand somewhat what small towns are like and how they operate,” he said.
Following Chief Moses Ector, Harr said it was vital to continue to build on the foundations he started, specifically in community outreach.
“He has a great legacy here, I’m not going to let that die,” he said.
Harr added that he hopes to expand community focus to young people and senior citizens who he said hold soft places in his heart.
His vision includes implementing a daily senior citizen check-up program and officer engagement in the schools and programs on a frequent basis.
His resume covers everything from investigations to communications to records, but his many years working in CALEA accreditation and state certification are what taught him what a successful police agency looks like.
Harr said it was a tremendous asset for him to be an accreditation and certification manager in preparing for the job. He is bringing his evaluation skills to the HPD determining how the department can improve moving forward.
“I’m meeting with every employee we have, I want to talk to them and find out what they’ve seen in the past that’s been working, what they’d like to change, what their goals are … asking their opinion on what we can do to make things better,” he said. “They’ve been here for a while, I’m the new guy on the block so it’s important for me to understand exactly how we are operating now and where they would like to see us operate in the future.”
Though Harr said the department is certainly capable of a CALEA accreditation, that is something they will look into later down the road.
Harr stressed the importance of listening to community and employee concerns and working together to tackle those concerns.
Keeping with his small-town focus, Harr said the community is a large force in helping the police department. He listed one of his goals as getting officers back into the community and residential areas, connecting with Hogansville citizens.
In his vision of what a police chief should look like, Harr said concern for the community and fairness are two traits he hopes to characterize in addition to his passion for the job.
“Integrity is very important to me; integrity of the agency, the integrity of the people that work in the agency and integrity for the profession,” he said.
In his first two weeks, Harr described the job as “fun” adding that he has felt welcomed by the department and the community.
“I see a lot of potential with this community as far as community outreach,” he said. “I’m looking forward to seeing that catch fire and go.”