Chief Rich Austin

Police Chief Rich Austin in his office. 

MILTON, Ga. — Milton Police Chief Rich Austin has announced he is resigning from his post after leading the department since 2017. He will continue in his role through Sept. 26.

Austin is leaving Milton to serve as Police Chief in Burlington, North Carolina, his home state.

"It has been a true honor to lead such an outstanding department of law enforcement professionals, working together to serve the citizens of Milton," Austin said in a statement. "I'm also extremely grateful to this community, our elected officials, and my fellow city staff members. Their support and partnership have been invaluable to the success of our police department. I thank them all for their support for our officers, myself and my family."

Chief Austin: A look back and a look forward

During his tenure, Austin spearheaded the revamping of several department policies, including the use-of-force policy, continued Milton Police’s accreditation with the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies and served as member of the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police. Recently, Austin founded the Chief’s Advisory Board to create a dialogue between the community and Milton Police.

He also oversaw the department’s transition into the city’s new Public Safety Complex on Ga. 9 and led several virtual town hall meetings during the pandemic in response to national outcry over policing ahead of and during 2020.

Milton Police answer resident’s questions in virtual town hall

Austin is Milton’s fourth Chief of Police. He came to the city with about 25 years of experience in various roles with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, which covers about 800,000 residents in North Carolina.

Austin replaced former chief Steve Krokoff, now City Manager, in 2017.

"Chief Austin has been a poised, effective leader for our Police Department and our city," Krokoff said. "We will miss him, even as we understand his desire to be closer to family."

The city announced it has started the search for Austin’s replacement.

His resignation continues a streak of new department heads for the city over the last 18 months. Since 2020, the city has hired a new communications director, fire chief, community development director and city clerk.

Other departments have interim leaders, including Transportation Engineer Sara Leaders serving as the acting Public Works Director and Tom McKlveen as the interim Parks and Recreation Director.

Reach Joe Parker at 770-847-8334. Follow him on Twitter @joeparkerga.

Joe Parker is an Editor with Appen Media Group and covers Milton, Forsyth County and high school sports.

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