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Chief Stacey L. Cotton


Stacey L. Cotton has served as the Chief of Police for the Covington Police Department since 1997.   

Chief Cotton’s involvement with the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police has been quite extensive. He was honored to be elected to the Executive Board in 2004 as Fourth Vice-President. He served the Association as President in 2009-2010. He rewrote the Association’s Constitution and By-Laws with Association Attorney Michael Caldwell in 2001-2002. In 2002-2003 he developed the Curtis McClung Award under the direction of then President Kenny Smith, which has since become a very prestigious award. He served on the Legislative Committee for several years. Chief Cotton is often called to the Georgia Capitol to testify as a subject matter expert on proposed laws that affect Law Enforcement. 

He was the first chair of the Alarm Committee in 2004-2005. Their work resulted in a model policy for Georgia and a number of agencies passing local alarm ordinances. In addition, their efforts set in motion the current law for enhanced call verification that was recently passed by the Georgia General Assembly. He currently chairs the Corporate Affairs Committee and serves on the State Certification Committee.

In recognition for his efforts in Law Enforcement at the local, state, and National level along with his dedicated service to the GACP Chief Cotton was named the “Outstanding Chief of the Year” for 2012-2013. 

Also during his tenure as chief, the Covington Police Department was the IACP/Motorola Webber Seavey Award Winner for Excellence in Law Enforcement in 2002, becoming the first agency in Georgia to win the award. He served as the SACOP/IACP representative in 2002-2003 and served on the IACP Elections Committee and as Special Advisor to the Executive Board. He also served on the IACP Conference Committee from 2006-2008.

He is very involved in Georgia International Law Enforcement Exchange Program to Israel (GILEE) and served as the delegation head for the group that went to Israel in 2001. In 2007 Chief Cotton was asked by the British Consulate, located in Atlanta, to travel to London with a Special GILEE delegation to advise the London Police on ways to prepare for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. In 2010 Chief Cotton was also selected by the Istanbul Center in Atlanta to participate in a cultural exchange to Turkey and begin discussion on how to build training partnerships with the Turkish National Police.

As one to the very few law enforcement executives to be selected to participate in Leadership Georgia Chief Cotton was a member of the Leadership Georgia Class of 2006. His involvement in and service to the community truly shows just how much he cares about Covington and Newton County. He served on the Leadership Newton County Advisory Committee from 1996 – 2002. He served as the Chairman of Leadership Newton County in 1996 and the Steering Committee in 1995. He has served on the Board of Directors of the Covington-Newton County Chamber of Commerce.  

He has been a member of the Rotary Club in Covington since 1997 and is a Paul Harris Fellow and the recipient of the Covington Rotary Club’s Rotarian of the Year award for 2012. 

He is a founding member and current Chair of “A Childs Voice” Child Advocacy Center located in Loganville, Georgia. He served on the Board of Directors for Project ReNeWal from 1998 -2002. Project ReNeWal is a multi-county shelter for battered women and children that serve Rockdale, Newton and Walton counties. He served as an expert panel member and was asked to present in front of former First Lady Rosalyn Carter in Washington DC, for “Care Giving Capacity in the Community” as part of a project sponsored by Johnson & Johnson and the Rosalyn Carter Institute in 2002. 

Under his leadership, the Covington Police Department has remained CALEA-accredited, since it was initially accredited in 1985; the first department in Georgia and the tenth in the nation to earn that honor. He has served the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. (CALEA) as an assessor and Team Leader for a number of years. Chief Cotton was asked to participate in the revision of the CALEA Assessor final report and was part of the early development of the modern format of the agency assessments. Wanting to support the state’s own program, the department was first State-certified under his leadership in July 2001 and has been recertified twice since that time. Stacey served on the Board of Directors for the Georgia Police Accreditation Coalition (GPAC). Also, under his leadership, the Covington-Newton 911 Center became accredited for the first time. 

Chief Cotton has always remained a strong believer in formal education and encourages members of the Covington Public Safety Department to get their education. He sets the example as he has a Master of Public Administration and a Master of Science in Criminal Justice from Troy University. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice, from Mercer University and an Associate’s Degree from Dekalb College. He is a graduate of the FBI National Academy, 188th Session in 1997. He currently serves as an Adjunct Professor for American Intercontinental University and Mercer University.

Most important in Chief Cotton’s life are his wife Lana, sons Kole, and Kyle, and his stepdaughter Madisyn.  Stacey is an active member of First Baptist Church in Covington.