Moments that bring together an entire community are hard to come by these days. Weddings, funerals and graduations, however, pale in comparison to the swearing-in ceremony for new Acworth Police Chief Wayne Dennard during the Thursday evening meeting of the Mayor and Board of Aldermen.
Multiple ovations were given by the standing-room only crowd at City Hall to both Dennard and outgoing chief Michael Wilkie. Wilkie is leaving the force after almost 10 years to teach at Bob Jones University, a Christian university in Greenville, SC.
“I knew I had a tough choice in front of me when Mike told me he was leaving,” said City Manager Brian Bulthuis. “I see from the outpouring of support, though, that I made the right decision.”
Local dignitaries including Kennesaw Mayor Matthews were in attendance at the ceremony, which prominently featured members of the Acworth Police Department.
“I will lead you, and I will hold you responsible,” said Dennard to his officers in his acceptance speech. “I will also support you, and I will have your back.” Dennard asked the public to support the police force, saying they are imperfect people doing an imperfect job in an imperfect world on “the worst day of your life.”
Dennard, who has held the rank of major more than three years as Wilkie's second in command, credited his family and his strong faith in helping him achieve the leadership of the Acworth police.
Comparing his life to the workings of a GPS unit, Dennard said that instead of avoiding the worst routes, he barreled right through them, facing the worst places and seeing sights along the way he may never have seen taking the safer route through his life.
Giving praise to his predecessor, he told Wilkie, “you will always be my chief.”
Following his speech, in which he also said he felt “laden with vision,” on the future of the organization, new Chief Dennard was given the chief's badge by Wilkie and received his new collar eagles from his father, son and daughter.
“Assemblies like this are what make this country great,” said Alderman Butch Price. “Our community is so strong because we are free to mention God. If the politicians in Washington did the same thing, our country would be as great as it used to be.”
Another presentation was made by Mayor Tommy Allegood to members of the Captain John Collins Chapter of the National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution honoring April 19 as “Patriot's Day.”
On April 19, 1775, militiamen from Lexington and Concord, MA, stopped a British force that was attempting to seize colonial supplies, launching the American Revolution.
“It's important to remember this day,” said chapter president Wayne L. Brown, “because on this day we began the fight for our freedom, which resulted in us becoming the greatest country on God's green earth.”
The Mayor and Aldermen unanimously approved their consent agenda. The agenda may be found here.