The swearing-in ceremony of Glynn County’s new police chief was canceled late Thursday afternoon, the plug being pulled on a technicality, county spokesman Matthew Kent said.
Glynn County Police Chief Jacques Battiste was to be sworn in at 5 p.m. during an official ceremony at the old courthouse with Brunswick Judicial Circuit Court Chief Judge Stephen Scarlett presiding.
The ceremony was to precede the regular county commission meeting.
But county officials learned Thursday that Battiste cannot be sworn in until he completes his Georgia law enforcement certification, established by the state Peace Officer Standards and Training Council.
Kent said county officials originally were informed that the swearing-in could proceed with the understanding that Battiste was pursuing the POST certification.
County officials learned at the last moment that this was not the case.
The issue has no bearing on Battiste’s status as the new police chief, Kent said. He will still be able to supervise the Glynn County Police Department and administer plans and policies.
Battiste has no power to make arrests, conduct traffic stops or perform other law enforcement duties until he is POST certified. This was known when the county commission hired him last month, Kent said.
Battiste has more than 20 years experience as an FBI agent, serving in Washington, D.C., and in Quantico, Va. He served as deputy constable with the Orleans Parish Constable’s Office in New Orleans until accepting the police chief job here. He also served as campus police chief for a year in 2018 at Xavier University of Louisiana in New Orleans.
Battiste is a sworn law enforcement officer in Louisiana, Kent said.
Battiste will pursue his state POST certification as planned, a process that could take up to six months, Kent said.
“We knew he was going to have to be POST certified, but we had misinformation that he could be sworn in and then proceed with certification,” Kent said.
“His long term plans for the department can still move ahead. He just doesn’t have law enforcement powers yet in the state of Georgia.”