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Covington police chief to head state association

COVINGTON - Covington Police Chief Stacey L. Cotton has been named president of the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police.

Cotton was sworn in Tuesday night during the association's conference in Savannah.

GACP represents more than 550 chiefs of police and agency heads across the state. As president, Cotton's duties will include chairing the association's executive board and appointing all committee members and district representatives.

Cotton has been a member of GACP since 1998, the year after he was appointed police chief.

"I've done a lot of work for the association over the years to ready me for this next step. My goal is to not only provide leadership to Georgia chiefs but to represent my city and my police department as the professional agency we are and the great city we are," he said.

Cotton has served on the GACP executive board for five years - he was set to become president last year, but delayed accepting the position during his run for Newton County sheriff.

Cotton was appointed police chief of Covington in 1997. His career with the Covington Police Department has spanned 22 years, during which time he has held the rank of police officer, sergeant, lieutenant and assistant chief.

In November, he was appointed public safety director for the city of Covington.

Under his leadership, the Covington Police Department has maintained international accreditation - it was the first agency in Georgia to reach that achievement in 1985. The department is also a state certified agency through GACP.

In 2001, as a member of the Georgia International Law Enforcement Exchange Program, Cotton served as delegation head when he and other law enforcement executives learned how to combat terrorism from the Israeli Police.

In 2007, he was selected to participate in a Georgia International Law Enforcement Exchange pilot program, traveling to London as a guest of the British consulate in Atlanta for meetings with London police and officials concerning the 2012 Olympics.

Cotton is a graduate of the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Va. He also holds an associate degree from DeKalb College, a bachelor's degree from Mercer University, a master of public administration and a master of science in criminal justice from Troy University. He serves as an adjunct professor at the College of Continuing and Professional Studies of Mercer University.

He serves on many boards and community programs, including the newly formed Child Advocacy Center, A Child's Voice, located in Loganville and serving the Alcovy Judicial Circuit of Newton and Walton counties. He serves as vice chair of the board of directors overseeing the center's activities, which include conducting forensic interviews and medical examinations of children who are victims of sexual and physical abuse.

Cotton has also served on the board of Project ReNeWal, a battered women's shelter serving Rockdale, Newton and Walton counties, and the board of directors of the Covington-Newton County Chamber of Commerce, where he also chaired the Leadership Newton County program in 1996. Cotton is a graduate of Leadership Georgia 2006.

Cotton has three children - Erica and twins Kyle and Kole. Erica recently gave birth to Cotton's first grandson, Braylon. Cotton is the son of retired Judge Stacey W. Cotton and Suzanne Cotton of Covington. He is a member of First Baptist Church of Covington.

Crystal Tatum can be reached at crystal.tatum@newtoncitizen.com.

SideBar: At a glance

What is the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police?

Based in Atlanta, the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police includes more than 1,000 executives representing municipal and county law enforcement agencies, college and university police departments, corporate and private security firms, numerous state and federal agencies and concerned citizens who support the efforts of law enforcement administrators throughout the state.

The association's goals are to promote cooperative, professional relationships throughout the state, to evaluate the standards of police institutions and the profession, to offer quality training and continuing education for administrators and to provide opportunities for police executives to exchange information and experiences.