UPDATE: This story did not originally include the second statement from Matthew Libby.
PORT WENTWORTH, Ga (WSAV) — The Port Wentworth Chief of Police Matthew Libby has announced his retirement today.
Libby spent 31 years in law enforcement and 10 of those years as Chief of Police of Port Wentworth. His retirement will be effective Feb. 1.
According to a press release by the City of Port Wentworth, officials say they saw dynamic change during his time in office and the department continues to grow in size due to his leadership.
Libby wrote the following to City Manager Steve Davis:
However, in a statement to WSAV News 3 Libby said:
“This was a forced retirement it is not what I planned. I am honored to serve the City of Port Wentworth and its citizens for 31 years. I am very thankful for the opportunities the city has provided to me and I wish everyone well.”
News 3 reached out to Mayor Gary Norton. He also said that Libby was asked to step down. Norton stated that some council members did not want Libby to be Chief.
Mayor Norton did not necessarily agree with those council members.
“I think it’s a sad day for the City,” Mayor Norton said. “Chief Libby protected our city. He’s made this city one of the safest in the state. He’s done a great job.”
City Manager Steve Davis said the decision comes after years of issues within the department.
“He was asked to retire, in lieu of other investigations and other issues, and violations that were out there,” Davis said. “What we gave him was more than we were contractually obligated to give him. If he thinks he was treated unfairly, you know he’s more than welcome to rescind his retirement letter and his settlement agreement.”
Davis told News 3 it was time to turn over a new leaf.
“Well, the restructuring is going to improve workflow, and command structure, that I think has been lacking for a long time. It’s very top heavy, and everything leads back to the chief,” Davis told News 3, “But he really didn’t see eye to eye with management or elected officials.”
Protecting the community is the number one concern for the City of Port Wentworth. Davis says that the next police chief will help change the department for the better.
“Well, just know that public safety is a priority for us. We’re going to continue to provide you know uh phenomenal police services, and we’re going to bring in a new police chief that is going to reflect this city and the values of this city”.
Libby had previously been fired from the position by the current city manager in 2019 but was later rehired in 2020.
Assistant Chief Lee Sherrod will serve as the interim Chief until a new Chief is announced.