Tybee Police Chief Retires!

After 17 Years of Service, Veteran Police Chief, Jimmy Price Leaves the Force.

By Editor Cynthia Kinkel

After several months of controversy that clearly upset the community of Tybee Island this past summer, Police Chief Jimmy Price officially took early retirement on Thursday, Sept. 2nd, 2010. City council members voted to accept his bid after striking a deal that allowed him to be re-instated so he could come back to work for a week in order to retire.

City Manager, Diane Schleicher suspended the former police chief in June of this year with pay, when an investigation against two of his officers, Travis Daniel, 25, and Timothy Sullivan, 36, showed that reports of an incident involving the tasing of an autistic teenager, 18 year old Clifford Grevemberg, on May 21st, after the Beach Bum Parade had been falsified. Daniel and Sullivan were suspended, then resigned from the force, and were more recently indicted.  A third officer, supervisor Cpl. Javier Valdes was also suspended and later resigned over the incident, but was not charged.

Schleicher and Mayor Jason Buelterman had requested that Price call in the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to check out looming discrepancies in the face of a possible lawsuit brought by the Grevembergs against the City of Tybee.

Initially, Price’s officers had misinterpreted Clifford Grevemberg’s autistic responses as being drunk and disorderly, a charge for which the teenager was later cleared, but the real trouble came when it was soon discovered by GBI investigators that the arresting officers had failed to include the fact that a fourth individual, a young non-certified jailer, Adam Thran was present at the time of the tasing. Thran had been omitted from the police report, a fact that might have added further suspicion to any case against the City of Tybee, and Schleicher acted quickly on Tybee’s behalf to also suspend the Chief.  Thran resigned as well, but was not charged.

The Chatham County District Attorney’s office was later called in, leading to the grand jury indictments of the two former officers, Sullivan and Daniel. A lawsuit was in fact brought by Clifford Grevemberg and is pending currently against the City in Chatham County State Court.

Although Jimmy Price was never under any suspicion of wrongdoing, the responsibility for such developments falls directly on the leadership of the police department. Under the circumstances, city officials finally agreed it was in the public’s best interest to accept Chief Price’s resignation, thus ending in early retirement, a tenure of three decades of service to Tybee Island.  Lt. Robert Bryson has taken over the department as acting chief.  Officials haven’t stated yet when they’ll be looking for a permanent replacement.

Under the early retirement deal, Price agreed to give up any legal claims against the City of Tybee Island in exchange for $28,658, or four months salary, and his retirement pay. Price was reinstated as police chief so he might immediately retire while not under suspension. The agreement was signed on Wednesday, Sept. 1st, affirmed by a vote of the City Council on Thursday, Sept. 2nd – although several council members expressed reservations and acknowledged it was a very emotional moment, the measure passed with only councilman Frank Schuman voting against it.  The Chief’s resignation took affect seven days later.

Over the summer, a campaign waged by some of Price’s supporters to reinstate him, “The Price is Right,” also sought to have the city manager fired.  There was talk by spokespersons for this group to do away with the Tybee’s city management form of government as well.

As a token of appreciation for all his years of service to Tybee Island, Chief Price’s friends and supporters are planning a retirement/going-away party for him on Sunday, September 26th at the Tybee Island American Legion Hall, Post 154 from 5:00pm until 9:00pm.  The theme of the event is “Tybee is Priceless.”

The public is invited to attend.

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2 Responses to “Tybee Police Chief Retires!”
  1. Nullifier says:

    Is this article saying he was paid $7000 a month??

  2. Editor says:

    Doing some checking into this. Thanks for the comment.

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