CANTON, GA (December 11, 2023)Captain John Lummus was appointed as the interim police chief for the Canton Police Department in an announcement released to City staff earlier today. Lummus will lead the agency during the transition from the retirement of current Police Chief Stephen Merrifield.


Chief Merrifield joined the City of Canton in February 2015 as deputy police chief following a thirty-year career with Cobb County Police rising to the rank of Major. Merrifield started his career with an enlistment in the United States Army, serving four years in the Airborne Ranger Unit and ended his time with the rank of sergeant.


Captain Lummus joined the Canton Police Department in February 1997 and served as a sergeant and lieutenant prior to his promotion to Captain in July 2022. Lummus currently serves as the captain over the Uniform Patrol Division, which provides shift patrols of the City and is the largest bureau of the agency.


“Captain Lummus has the support of his colleagues in the command staff and was a unanimous recommendation by our existing leadership, other captains, and lieutenants. John is a perfect example of a career Canton police officer that started with and will retire from our agency,” noted Billy Peppers, City Manager.


Lummus will serve as the interim chief beginning December 20, during a transition period through the holidays and leading to Merrifield’s official retirement date of January 2. Deputy Chief Wendell Turner will also be retiring early in 2024 following a nearly 30-year career in law enforcement.


“It is rare to have the retirement of a chief and deputy chief within such a narrow window of time, but both of these employees have dedicated their careers to public service, and we wish them both well in the next phase of life,” added Peppers.


“I am honored and humbled the city manager has entrusted me to lead the department through this transitional phase. Chief Merrifield has served the City of Canton and this department with integrity. My goal is to make sure the department continues moving forward and the exemplary work he has done here continues,” said Lummus.


The City of Canton engaged Reddish Executive Consulting (dba Mercer Group) to manage the search for the next Chief of Police. It is anticipated that the application will go live on December 18 and the application window will close on January 19, 2024. Selection of semi-finalists and final interviews will occur over a six-week period after applications are closed. The city manager hopes to select a new chief in early March.


Lauren Johnson,

Communications Manager




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