John Maynard remembers being a child of 4 or 5 years old and sliding on his father’s police gloves, the feel of the leather on his own tiny fingers. Tough but supple, those gloves protected the hands of a man who was determined to protect others.
“He ingrained in me and my siblings early on to treat people right no matter who they are or what they’ve done,” Maynard said. “He told us to treat them as good as they will allow you to.”
Maynard said his father left law enforcement after he stopped a fellow officer who, in his estimation, stepped over a line with a man in their custody. After stopping his fellow officer he reported the incident to his chief and commanders, but when it appeared to get swept under the rug, Maynard’s father decided he did not want to be a part of that sort of agency.
“I hope to continue to carry that with me, to always treat people with the utmost respect to the degree that they will allow you to,” Maynard said.
Thursday, Nov. 4, Maynard was hired to take over as Police Chief of Wrens. He was most recently the chief of the nearby Stapleton Police Department and has been a certified law enforcement officer for 18 years.
Maynard has been actively serving the public as an emergency responder since becoming a volunteer firefighter in Metter, when he was 18 years old.
“But I had always had a passion to be in law enforcement,” he said.
His father had been a military police officer before working as a city officer in West Virginia and it had left an impression.
Twin City sponsored and paid for his enrollment in the Savannah Police Academy in 2003. He came back to serve there first, while continuing work as a firefighter in Metter. After later getting married and again when he first became a father he considered leaving law enforcement, but says he always came back.
“It’s something I feel chooses you,” he said.
Maynard spent the bulk of his 18-year career as a night time sergeant and shift supervisor with the Swainsboro Police Department, but was worked part time in law enforcement in a number of other area cities, including Wrens.
For the last two and half years he, his wife Zaid, and their four children have lived near Louisville, where Maynard also serves as pastor for Resurrection Church, a non-denominational ministry located in downtown Louisville, which started under his carport.
He said that he believes in supporting officers who have compassionate hearts and go into the field to help people.
“I want the people on the north end of Wrens to know they are just as important as the people on the south end of Wrens, people on the east to know they’re just as important as those on the west and everyone in between. Everyone is the same in my eyes,” Maynard said.
Maynard takes over from former Wrens Police Chief Jamey Kitchens, who recently left the department to take over as chief of Grovetown’s department.
Maynard said that it appears that he is moving into a “well-oiled machine” of a department.
“They are bringing in guys from other counties and other agencies who have 15- to 20 years of law enforcement experience. That says a lot for the City of Wrens. They bring a lot of experience that will make a big impact on the younger guys on the department,” Maynard said.
The department’s recent raises and a new fleet of vehicles purchased earlier this year help recruit this kind of talent, Maynard said, but what really keeps them is leadership.
He added that he is proud to step into this team as its new chief and provide the leadership they deserve. Over the last week he has been working night shift duties, continuing to work the shifts he was scheduled for before he officially was named chief.
“I won’t ask anyone to do anything I won’t do,” he said. “Training is a big deal to me. If you have a well-oiled machine, it’s just like everything else, it has to have a tune-up. The way we tune up is through training. And I want to make sure they are trained on topics like community policing and mental illness. Officers need to know how to recognize the signs of mental illness.”
Maynard said that he is settling into the new position over the coming weeks hopes to get around to all of the city’s business owners and introduce himself. He is also working on plans to have his department further involved in community events so that he and his officers can continue to strengthen their relationships with the citizens of Wrens.
This article originally appeared on Augusta Chronicle: John Maynard takes over as Wrens police chief