COVINGTON -- City of Covington Public Safety Director Stacey Cotton has been named Outstanding Chief of the Year by the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police. The award was presented Tuesday night at the GACP banquet.
Cotton has served as chief of police for the Covington Police Department since 1997. In November 2008, he was appointed to the position of public safety director for the city of Covington. While he continues to serve as the police department's CEO, he also has oversight of the Covington Fire Department and the Covington-Newton 911 Center.
Under his leadership, the Covington Police Department has remained accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies Inc. (CALEA), a distinction it initially achieved in 1985, making it the first department in Georgia and the 10th in the nation to earn that honor.
Wanting to support the state's own program, the department was first state certified under Cotton's leadership in July 2001 and has been re-certified twice since that time.
Also, during Cotton's tenure as chief, the CPD was the recipient of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) Motorola Webber Seavey Award for Excellence in Law Enforcement in 2003, becoming the first agency in Georgia to win the award. Also, under his leadership, the Covington-Newton 911 Center became accredited for the first time.
Cotton's involvement with the GACP has been extensive. He was elected to the executive board in 2004, serving as fourth vice president and served as president for the 2009-10 term.
He and GACP attorney Michael Caldwell rewrote the association's constitution and by-laws, which were adopted in 2001-2002. He developed the Curtis McClung Award in 2002-03 under the direction of then-President Kenny Smith and has served on the legislative committee for several years as well as the training committee.
Cotton was the first chair of the organization's alarm committee in 2004-05, which resulted in a model policy for Georgia and a number of agencies passing local alarm ordinances. In addition, their efforts set in motion the current law for enhanced call verification that was recently passed by the Georgia General Assembly.
He currently serves on the state certification committee and chairs the corporate affairs committee.
Cotton served on the board of directors for the Georgia Police Accreditation Coalition as well as the IACP elections committee and as special advisor to the executive board. He also served on the IACP conference committee from 2006-08 and is very involved in the Georgia International Law Enforcement Exchange Program to Israel where he served as the delegation head for the group that went to Israel in 2001. Additionally, he has served CALEA as an assessor and team leader for a number of years.
Locally, he served on the Leadership Newton County Advisory Committee from 1996-2002 and served as chairman of Leadership Newton County in 1996 and on the steering committee in 1995. He has served on the board of directors of the Covington-Newton County Chamber of Commerce and is a member of the Leadership Georgia Class of 2006. He has been a member of the Rotary Club of Covington for a number of years and was recently named Rotarian of the Year for 2012.
Additionally, Cotton served on the board of directors for the domestic violence shelter Project ReNeWal from 1998-2002 and served as an expert panel member for Care Giving in the Community at the Rosalyn Carter Institute in 2002.
He is a founding member and current vice chair of the Newton/Walton Child Advocacy Center and is an active member of First Baptist Church of Covington.
Cotton encourages members of the Police Department to continue their education and sets the example as he has two master's degrees, a bachelor's degree and an associate degree. He is a graduate of the FBI National Academy, 188th Session in 1997. He currently serves as an adjunct professor for American Intercontinental University and Mercer University.