McClure’s appointment comes after three shootings in June took place over a three-day span. It is difficult to determine why homicides are higher than in previous years, he said, but he hopes that the reduction in gang violence and the flow of illicit drugs will help reduce the number of deaths.
“We want to be intentional with these violent gun crimes, so we’re going to do our best to target this type of behavior,” McClure said. “… Ultimately our job is to provide a safe community. “
McClure, 50, is a US Marine Corps veteran and married with two daughters. He said he took on the role of police chief “out of a sense of duty” and owed it to his community and to the men and women in the force.
Currently, 742 sworn officers serve six police stations located across the county. Several towns have their own police departments, but the county’s unincorporated areas and the towns of Berkeley Lake, Buford, Dacula, Grayson, Peachtree Corners and Sugar Hill depend on Gwinnett’s strength.
There are 158 positions open for sworn officers within the department, which McClure said he hopes to fill by restoring the profession’s appeal, especially among younger generations.
Gwinnett is Georgia’s most diverse county, with large minority communities everywhere. Officers hired by the department should continue to reflect that diversity to the extent possible, McClure said.
McClure would go down in history as the department’s first black police chief. While the importance of the moment “is certainly not lost on me,” said McClure, but he hopes the community is focusing on the police’s relationship with their community rather than their skin color.
The department holds big events every year to connect with residents, McClure said. He said he wanted officers to take their community outreach even further by attending neighborhood picnics and local sports games.
McClure will earn $ 195,000 annually and will be the fourth person to lead Gwinnett’s police force since 2019. Officers knew former Chief Brett West was planning to retire after 30 years before West took over. post, McClure said.
“Every day he came to work he was focused and determined to get a lot done during his tenure,” McClure said of West. “It was a great example for me and for everyone in the department. We will miss him.
Gwinnett County Police Chief Brett West will retire after 30 years with the department. (Courtesy of Gwinnett County)
Credit: Gwinnett County
Credit: Gwinnett County
In a statement to the AJC, West congratulated McClure and said “he’s the best person for the job.” West said he looks forward to spending more time with his wife and playing golf as he retires.
“The landscape of policing is changing and many departments are looking inward to assess how best to serve their communities,” West said in the statement. “I believe that over the years our leaders have worked to create a culture of honesty, integrity and respect. “