Richmond Hill has a new police chief for the first time in 31 years.
Mitch Shores was sworn in by Mayor Harold Fowler in an 8 a.m. ceremony Thursday at City Hall. Shores replaces Billy Reynolds, who retired after 33 years with the department — the last 31 as chief — to become Bryan County probate judge.
“I am so thankful to be here,” Shores said afterward. “Anyone who knows me knows I get great job satisfaction from developing people, and I’m looking forward to working with all of the great officers of the Richmond Hill Police Department.”
The ceremony was attended by no fewer than a dozen RHPD officers, as well as officers from the Savannah-Chatham Metro Police Department, where Shores most recently served as a sergeant. In addition to Fowler, city council members Russ Carpenter, Johnny Murphy and John Fesperman were in attendance, as we Fire Chief Ralph Catlett, County Commissioners Chairman Jimmy Burnsed and several city staff members.
Shores was hired by city council on a 4-0 vote at the Oct. 4 meeting from among four finalists.
Shores has 24 years of law enforcement experience, and has been a resident of Richmond Hill since 1991 when he got out of the Coast Guard. He has been married for 30 years and raised a son and daughter in Richmond Hill. He and his wife have seven grandchildren.
“This is a great honor for me,” Shores told the Bryan County News the night he was hired. “I love this town and the Richmond Hill Police Department has a great reputation.”
He expanded on that theme Thursday morning.
“This department has very strong bonds with the community and my goal is to increase that bond and continue to serve the people of Richmond Hill,” he said.
Shores was named “Supervisor of the Year” by the Savannah Area Exchange Club in 2005 and has worked as a field training officer, a police academy instructor and been a member of the SWAT Team at SCMPD. He also has worked with the Chatham County Narcotics Team and the U.S. Marshal Fugitive Team.
The RHPD was established in 1977 with a police chief and one officer. Today, it has 32 officers and eight administrative staff and consists of five divisions: uniformed services, criminal investigation, K-9, code enforcement and administrative services.