Dunwoody Police Chief Billy Grogan took his knowledge of law enforcement across the world to help train police in the country of Georgia.
Grogan provided training through the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, a division of the Department of State that supports and helps modernize law enforcement agencies abroad.
Georgia, a former Soviet republic at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, has a relatively new police force.
“The president of Georgia in 2005 fired almost the entire 30,000 member police department because of the legacy system leftover from the Russian days, so there was a lot of corruption,” Grogan said.
Grogan used his experiences from forming the Dunwoody Police Department in 2009 to help Georgian officials.
“I spoke to about 20 executives and chiefs from the Georgian police in different geographic areas of the country,” Grogan said.
Grogan said the main difference between law enforcement in Dunwoody and Georgia is that the country has one national police force with bureaus in different cities.
“That was one of the things that’s difficult for them to understand is how we have federal, state, city and county departments. It’s very hard for them to understand the hierarchy and how those systems are autonomous,” Grogan said. “Obviously, there are some advantages to [a national police force], but what we find with smaller departments such as ours is your ability to develop relationships with the community and the ability to respond to the community is much greater.”
Grogan said he gave presentations in the Georgian capital city of Tbilisi, as well as Telavi and Batumi, on the coast of the Black Sea.
He spoke to police about establishing a good culture within the department, recruiting and retaining the right employees, and departmental development.
“Their department is not very diverse. It’s mostly Georgian men, and so one of the things I talked to them about was having a diverse work force that represents the makeup of the community and also what different individuals with different backgrounds bring to the department and how important it was,” Grogan said.
In 2010, the chief of the Georgian police visited Dunwoody.
“He thought there was some relevance there for his staff to hear the same lessons and that’s why I was invited over,” Grogan said.
“It was an opportunity to talk about the success we’ve had with the Dunwoody Police Department. They seemed to have a true interest in what we had accomplished.”
Grogan stayed in Georgia from April 15 to 23. Though it was a business trip, he did enjoy touring some of the ancient churches in the Georgian countryside that date back to the 15th and 16th centuries.
“On the drive back from Batumi, we stopped by a monastery built on a cliff by a river. There was a stone path you had to take to get to it and it was really breathtaking and beautiful,” Grogan said. “All these areas have a lot of history.”