Watts and Owens take the reins as Glass retires

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MONROE – R.V. Watts and William “Bill” Owens will take over as interim police and fire chief as Keith Glass retires from his position as Public Safety Director.
Glass held the position, which covered both fire and police services for years, serving the community he grew up in.

Now, Watts will step in as police chief and says he expects a smooth transition into the position.

“I am expecting the transition to be a smooth one for myself and the department as a whole,” he said. “Over the past several years, our organization has really grown and matured in the areas of leadership, training and officer expectation. I am confident these improvements will help to make our transition a successful one.”

Watts has been with the City of Monroe Police Department for the last 16 years and was appointed assistant chief on Feb. 1, 2013.

“I have been in my current role for the past eight years: three as a major over daily operations, and the last five as the assistant chief,” he said. “I have acquired a vast amount of training, education and experience during my law enforcement career of 21 years that has brought me to this point and will carry the organization through the transition.”

“Prior to my career in law enforcement, I was a Sergeant in the United States Marine Corps. I got out of the service in 1996, the same year I met my wife, Kellie. We have been married for 18 years and have three children, Ethan, Grace and Will.
“We live in Social Circle and are actively involved with our church, Grace Baptist in Monroe, where I also serve as a Deacon,” he said. “I am a graduate of Thomas University where I earned my Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice.”
In addition to his post-secondary education, Watts has logged over 2500 hours of law enforcement training hours during his career and in his free time, he enjoys being with my family, hunting and fishing.
When asked is he plans to continue to run the Monroe Police Department as it has been under the chief’s watch or if there was anything specific he wanted to do once he takes over as interim chief, Watts said, “Chief G​lass has done a great job implementing a succession plan with the leaders and supervisors he currently has in place within the structure of our organization.

“With that being said, I understand that my new role will be faced with many obstacles and challenges. I know enough from my past roles as a leader that you should not make any immediate changes without a considerable amount of time observing and evaluating where potential improvements may be needed.”

“As far as my vision, I think you never cease to strive to be better.

“I tell our officers and staff all the time that my personal goal for our department is to be recognized as one of the best agencies in the state, not by any standards or statistics but by the words of those that serve in this profession.”

William “Bill” Owens has been with the Monroe Fire Department since 2000 and in 2016, was appointed as assistant fire chief.

Through his years with the fire department, Owens has accomplished many things like developing and executing the training programs as the department’s training officer, developed the department’s pre-incident planning program and was the first state-certified fire inspector within the department.

Along with those success, Owens said he also, “Coordinated ISO evaluation which resulted in the city maintaining a class 3 rating in 2009 and 2015 and assisted in developing and writing the department’s ‘Standing Operating Procedures.’”

Some of the awards he has received over the years include:
• 2003 Awarded Monroe Fire Department’s Fire Fighter of the Year

  • 2006 Awarded Walton County Public Servant of the Year
  • 2007-2009 Assisted in developing a county wide pandemic flu education program
  • 2009 Served as Chairman of the Walton County Local Emergency Planning Committee
  • 2010 Developed and coordinated the first county wide full scale hazardous material exercise

When it comes to taking over as interim fire chief, Owens said, “I have years of strong experience and a proven mastery of presentations in fire prevention and public education. My ability to cultivate effective interpersonal relationships with stakeholders is valuable. I perform well under pressure and consistently execute mission objectives.”

Look for more on the transition of personnel in the fire and police departments in upcoming news.

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