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Johns Creek taps 28-year law veteran as new police chief

Mark J. Mitchell will be only the third full chief to hold the position in the city's 14-year history.
Credit: Johns Creek Police
Mark J. Mitchell

JOHNS CREEK, Ga. — The newly-appointed police chief in Johns Creek is no stranger to law enforcement according to an announcement released by the city on Monday.

City manager Ed Densmore said in the statement that Mark J. Mitchell has been tapped for the position, bringing with him 28 years of law enforcement experience.

“I am honored to be appointed as the next Chief of Police for Johns Creek and I am eager to share my vision for establishing a winning culture of trust, respect, inclusion, and professional development within the department,” Mitchell said in the city's statement.

Johns Creek reports that Mitchell most recently served as the chief of staff for the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice and was the police chief for the city of Canton before that.

He now takes the reins in Johns Creek as only the third police chief since it officially became a city in late 2006. Densmore, who took the city manager position in 2020, was the first to hold the chief title for the city.

"He has an intimate understanding of what it takes to run an agency the size of ours and he brings an appreciation for the exceptional level of service Johns Creek residents expect and deserve," Densmore said of Mitchell.

The newly-appointed top officer will take over the position from interim chief Roland Castro, who has held the seat since the resignation of the previous chief, Chris Byers, amid a cloud of controversy in 2020.

Byers resigned, receiving a $325,000 settlement, the reasons for which were initially kept "confidential" by the city.

The resignation came just about a month after he was asked to take a leave from the department, then later placed on administrative leave in mid-June of that year, around the same time that Byers made a public post on social media criticizing the Black Lives Matter movement and religious leaders.  

Back then, Densmore said the city is not able to disclose the contents of the investigation - but clarified it was not related to Byers' Facebook post

11Alive's investigative team, The Reveal, later learned that Byers was asked to resign after an internal investigation into claims of inappropriate sexual language directed at a female employee before he became chief.

Mitchell, who will be sworn in at the Juen 21 city council meeting, was chosen along with a group of finalists through a nationwide search conducted by the International Association of Chiefs of Police. The organization also included input from the community and city departments to develop a candidate profile, according to the city's statement.