SNELLVILLE — After 50 years of service in law enforcement, and 17 years as the chief of police for the city, Roy Whitehead is retiring effective July 1.
Assistant Chief Greg Perry will assume the duties of chief.
“I am thankful for the opportunity to have served this department, our city and this community,” Whitehead said. “We are an award-winning department that is successful because of the job our people do and how they demonstrate their caring and professionalism daily. I’m also proud of our facility, equipment and the successes we have enjoyed while creating opportunities for our people to excel and an environment that encourages their growth.”
Whitehead, 69, graduated Cum Laude at the University of Georgia, attended Law School at Georgia State University and took Masters courses at The Citadel. He has completed more than 4,000 hours of advanced training in law enforcement both in the military and as a civilian.
As an officer, he has served in patrol, traffic and investigations divisions and spent 27 years as a chief in Snellville and Summerville, S.C. He served as vice chairman of the Georgia Peace Officers Standards and Training Council, chaired the Law Enforcement Advisory Committee for the Municipal Association of South Carolina and as a trustee for the South Carolina Insurance and Risk Financing Fund. Whitehead was also consultant to two independent contractors for the U.S. Department of Justice, served on the Advisory Board for the Georgia Public Safety Training Center at Athens, the Advisory Board for Gwinnett Tech, the Advisory Board of South Gwinnett and the support team for the Gwinnett County Treatment Court Program. He was also deputy coroner in Clarke and Oconee counties and Substitute Judge for the Recorders Court of Athens.
“I am especially proud to be recognized for several lifesaving efforts, winning the Award of Valor from the 100 Club of Charleston for single-handedly capturing a bank robber and being recognized as the Public Safety Person of the Year at the Gwinnett County Valor Awards in 2007,” he said.
He qualified as an expert witness for law enforcement in the Superior Courts of Georgia.
In 2004, Whitehead was named chief of the Snellville Police Department, where he set out to make the department the best it could be.
“Our goals included making the department one of the best in the nation,” he said.
To do so, he wanted to implement various opportunities such as a K-9 unit, a motorcycle unit and a Special Response Team among others. He wanted to improve the quality of life of Snellville residents by reducing crime and building partnerships with all segments of the community.
Whitehead helped design the current police department and increased department salaries to draw more qualified officers. He bolstered the Citizens Police Academy and CPA Alumni association which just completed its 30th class. He created programs such as Public Safety Night, Shop with a Cop, Tip a Cop and others.
Under Whitehead’s leadership, SPD won the Governor’s Cup awarded in the Governor’s Challenge under the auspices of the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety the last two years.
“This is the first time an agency won this award twice,” Whitehead said. “We are consistently recognized by winning local and national awards through our affiliation with the National Criminal Enforcement Association and other entities. Our implementation of Community Oriented Policing allows us to work coactively with our citizens and we had the lowest crime rate in 2020 in the last 20 years.”
Perry, a Brookwood High School and Reinhardt University graduate, started his career in law enforcement with the Stone Mountain Park Department of Public Safety and joined SPD in 2002.
“I am humbled to have the opportunity to lead the Snellville Police Department as the chief of police,” he said. “Chief Whitehead has placed the department in a tremendous position to provide the highest level of public safety for our citizens, and we will do everything possible to continue the police department in a positive direction. All the men and women of the Snellville Police Department should know that I will work as hard as I can to provide them outstanding leadership in the chief’s position, and that I will support them 100 percent in doing their job professionally for our community. Our community members should know that our department will be responsive to their concerns, and will remain transparent in our activities.”
Perry, 46, rose through the ranks working on the DUI Task Force, as a motor officer, serving in leadership roles for the Special Operations Unit, the Accident Investigation Unit, the Special Response Team and has served as assistant chief since 2016.
Perry has been named Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce Public Safety Officer of the Year, Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce Gold Medal of Valor winner, VFW Public Safety Officer of the Year, National Street Level Interdiction Officer of the Year – National Criminal Enforcement Association, National Largest Street Level Cocaine Seizure – NCEA and National Largest Street Level Methamphetamine Seizure – NCEA.
“My ultimate goal is to continue to lead the Snellville Police Department in providing the highest level of professional policing for our community,” Perry said. “I have a desire to increase training for both the officers within the department as well as increase community outreach. There is also a desire to improve the equipment and technology that can be used by the Snellville Police Department to help reduce crime. We will be working on strategies to assist with recruitment and retention for the police department. We will also continue to build partnerships within our community.”