DeKalb names interim police chief

One of the four assistant police chiefs of the DeKalb County Police Department has been named its interim head.

Lisa A. Gassner, assistant chief over the support services division of the police department, was appointed interim police chief, according to Burke Brennan, the county’s chief communications officer.

“She was appointed based on her qualifications and her capabilities,” Brennan said.

Police Chief William O’Brien announced in August that he will retire at the end of November and is currently out of the office using accrued vacation until his retirement’s effective date of Nov. 30.

Gassner was the first female major in the DeKalb County Police Department, serving as the commander of South Precinct, where she once was a rookie. Under O’Brien’s administration, she was promoted to deputy chief and then assistant chief, first commanding the special operations division.

Gassner joined the police department in 1986 and has served in the robbery/homicide unit, narcotics unit and the Strike Force. Gassner was one of the first female officers to make the S.W.A.T. team, where she served as a sniper. She has supervised several divisions, including the criminal investigations division and administrative/technical departments.

“Interim Chief Gassner has served admirably in the DeKalb County Police Department for 28 years, and knows the organization top to bottom,” said DeKalb CEO BurrellEllis. “The department is in good hands as we make a smooth transition to a permanent replacement.”

At least two of the other assistant police chiefs have applied for the top police position, including

D. A. Holmes, who heads the uniform division, and A. Williams, who commands the special operations division. The other assistant chief, M. P. Yarbrough, who is assigned to the criminal investigations division, is in FBI training, Brennan said.

Gassner has not applied for the position, Brennan said.

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