Bluffton police chief announces resignation; private-sector job in Atlanta awaits

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Bluffton police chief announces resignation; private-sector job in Atlanta awaits

By ALLISON STICE
astice@islandpacket.com
Published Tuesday, May 29, 2012   |  833 Words  |  

Bluffton Police Chief David McAllister plans to resign Aug. 1 and says he is retiring from law enforcement altogether.

McAllister, who has led the Bluffton Police Department since February 2006, said he will start a new career in the private sector as a senior-level executive for a security firm in Atlanta. He declined to name the company.

"I'm resigning from the town of Bluffton, but I'm really retiring from law enforcement," McAllister said. "After 20-plus years in law enforcement, nine-plus years as chief, including 6 1/2 here, I'm just ready to make a move and start a new challenge."

McAllister, who is completing a master's degree in criminal justice from the University of Louisville -- his second master's degree -- said he also hopes moving to Atlanta will yield teaching opportunities.

Another possible future resume item: author.

"They say every police officer thinks he has a book in him, and that's also true for me," McAllister said.

McAllister submitted his resignation Thursday, and the town has started a nationwide search for his replacement. The department has 33 full-time officers, three administrative staff members and a $3.8 million budget. It is housed in a new law enforcement center at Buckwalter Place dedicated in 2011.

"We have an outgoing police chief who's left a pretty good imprint on the town of Bluffton," said Town Councilman Michael Raymond. "He's taken us from a very fledgling operation to a very professional, top-of-the line one."

Raymond indicated the town would consider replacement candidates from both within the department and a national pool, saying, "I think everything's on the table at this point."A job listing on the town's website says it is seeking a candidate with a minimum of 10 years of municipal law enforcement experience, including seven years in command-level positions.

The job listing says the salary for the incoming chief is negotiable. McAllister's pay this year was $108,000.

Town manager Anthony Barrett said the process for appointing a new chief is still being discussed, and current staff can apply.

The department was accredited in 2009 by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, a national organization that sets standards for police departments. The accreditation was reauthorized this year.

Also during McAllister's tenure, Town Council created a townwide policy in 2009 to channel employee grievances, a result of several complaints made by Bluffton police officers against the chief.

McAllister was not disciplined as a result of the allegations, which town officials said involved promotions, evaluations, disciplinary actions and alleged favoritism.

One of the complaints eventually was lodged in federal court. The age-discrimination lawsuit filed by former Lt. Katherine Sours, who alleges she was unfairly demoted and laid off, is being settled out of court, documents show.

Sours already won $86,000 in a separate wrongful-termination lawsuit in state court. Barrett declined Tuesday to disclose the terms of the current settlement, and it is unclear if it is still being negotiated.

McAllister said his resignation has nothing to do with the suit.

"I'm just coming to the end of a two-decades-long career," he said. "I have a really unique opportunity to try something else, and I think it's the time."

Staff reporter Grant Martin contributed to this article.

Related content:

  1. Judge: Former Bluffton police officer's age-discrimination lawsuit can go to trial, Feb. 6, 2012
  2. Town pays $86,000 to former Bluffton police lieutenant in wrongful-termination suit, Aug. 4, 2011
  3. Settlement reached in Bluffton wrongful termination suit; town keeps amount secret, July 19, 2011
  4. Bluffton police prepare to move into new -- and dry -- headquarters, March 31, 2011
  5. Bluffton refuses to release documents about last fall's investigation of police chief, March 20, 2010
  6. Chief withholding info on incident reports in apparent violation of law, Oct. 3, 2009
  7. Complaints against Bluffton police chief prompt new grievance policy, Oct. 3, 2009
  8. Bluffton PD gets national accreditation, March 24, 2009
  9. Bluffton's top cop pushes neighborhood police program, April 4, 2009
  10. Bluffton police chief draws fire over handling of resignations of two officers, Oct. 17, 2007
  11. New police chief wants changes, March 29, 2006