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BREAKING: Chief Willie Lovett Hands in Retirement Notice

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DOWNTOWN SAVANNAH -

UPDATE:  5:25 p.m.:

Savannah Mayor Edna Jackson tells WSAV that Chief Willie Lovett handed in his retirement notice this afternoon.  It is effective immediately. 

Maj. Juliette Tolbert has been named interim chief.  She has been with the precinct for more than 20 years.

Terry Enoch has been named Assistant Acting Chief and Mike Wilkins has been named Acting Major.

City officials say they expect it will take up to 12 months to perform a nationwide recruitment campaign to find a permanent replacement.

Officials say they will ask for recommendations from the Georgia Chiefs of Police Association.

Chief Lovett had been with the department since the early 70's.  He had been Chief of Police for about three and a half years.

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UPDATE: 5:10 p.m.:

The City and County managers will hold a news conference at 5:30 this afternoon to discuss Chief Lovett's future.

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UPDATE - 4:15pm:

Chatham County Manager Russ Abolt was seen by News 3's Meredith Ley walking into Savannah City Hall moments ago. Both the City and County would be involved in any decision involving Chief Lovett's future.

All day long uniformed members of the Savannah-Chatham Police Department could be seen walking in and out of City Hall. Sources tell News 3 they were being asked questions about the Department's future and who should lead the officers if Lovett were to resign, retire or be let go.

So far there has been no new statement from City or County leaders, but News 3 has been told something will be released "soon", possibly by 6pm. 

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City officials tell us still no paperwork has been filed for Savannah Police Chief Willie Lovett's retirement, and no decision has been made about his position.

Multiple sources have told News 3 Lovett is expected to retire today, or lose his position. Lovett denies claims he will retire or quit. 

This all comes after allegations of sexual harassment were made against the chief by Officer Trina Mayes. Also, as News 3 reported earlier this month, Chief Lovett and the city were named in two separate racial discrimination lawsuits filed by two current Captains in the department.

The Police Chief represents both the city and county. Both entities have a say in what happens with the position, but the final decision lies with the Savannah City Manager.

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It's a story we first brought you on News 3 at 6--The future of Savannah Chatham Metro Police Chief Willie Lovett.

This comes as new information surfaces after new allegations--this time of sexual harassment against the Chief.

City officials spent hours behind closed doors discussing the chief's future today.

Several sources told News 3 that Chief Lovett will turn in his retirement papers tomorrow.

However, we talked to police Chief Willie Lovett tonight and he says he has no intentions of retiring.

However if he doesn't, it appears he could face the possibility of being fired.

This afternoon, the City Manager called a meeting with command staff to discuss the future of the department.

It's been a long few weeks for Chief Lovett.

First, the Chief found himself on the end of two discrimination lawsuits and now come allegations of sexual harassment filed by a Savannah Chatham police officer.

It was brought to the attention of city officials last week and investigations have been ongoing ever since.

Our sources confirm that the allegations were filed by Trina Mayes -- a detective with the police department.

And-- for transparency, were told the investigation has been handed over to an outside legal firm.

City Manager Stephanie Cutter was in a series of meetings with police command staff for most of the evening tonight. She was not able to discuss this---as it's an ongoing personnel issue -- but she did say she believes the city will find a resolution quickly and that they are doing what is best for the city.

Again Chief Lovett told News 3 tonight that he had no intention of retiring and then hung up--- but sources have told us that if he doesn't, he could be forced out.

Lovett has been the Savannah Police Chief for a little more than three years now. We, of course, continue to follow this story as it develops.

 

READ THE ORIGINAL STORY BELOW:

BREAKING NEWS: Multiple sources are telling News 3, Chief Willie Lovett is set to announce his retirement from the Savannah Chatham Metro Police Department.  We're told paperwork will be filed tomorrow, followed by an official announcement. 

Sources tell News 3 this is due to ongoing investigations. Among these, two racial discrimination lawsuits from current captains in the department and recently revealed allegations of sexual harassment on an officer.  News 3 is also told City Manager Stephanie Cutter met with command staff late this afternoon to discuss the pending investigations. 

We can confirm that Cutter is still in the City Hall building conducting a series of interviews with metro senior staff commanders about this investigation. 

The lawsuit is being handled by an outside Savannah law firm that specializes in these sort of complaints. It came to the city last week, and rumblings of the chief's retirement as the Mayor hosts nearly 100 elected officials from all over the country for the League of Cities meeting. 

When asked for comment, the mayor said "I don't have time for cameras." City Spokesperson, Bret Bell says they take any allegations regarding city officials "very seriously" and can't comment on details because they are still trying to put it together. 

We will continue digging and will bring you the very latest at News 3 at 11.

 

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