The city of Varnell has a new police chief. The City Council unanimously voted Thursday night to name Lt. Kyle Moreno chief.
"I'm really excited about it and looking forward to this opportunity," said Moreno.
The Varnell City Council named Moreno as the sole finalist for police chief at a May 19 meeting.
"We are very excited to bring him in as chief," said City Council member Richard Lowe. "We are looking for great things from him and from the department."
Moreno has been with the department since 2016.
He was assistant police chief in Cohutta from April 2018 to June 2019.
He also served as an officer with the Dalton State College Police Department from 2015 to 2018 and has a diploma in criminal justice technology from Georgia Northwestern Technical College.
Moreno will be paid $50,000 a year as chief.
Mayor Tom Dickson said three other candidates the City Council interviewed withdrew from consideration before the May meeting.
Dickson said Friday that Moreno is effectively chief now, but there will be a transition with interim Chief Lyle Grant.
"I don't anticipate that will be very long," Dickson said. "I think it will take a week or two."
Grant said in June 2019 he would retire from the department at the end of that year. The announcement came after the City Council voted unanimously to reinstate Grant, who had been on paid administrative leave since April 30.
A Whitfield County grand jury declined to indict Grant for providing a county-owned, encrypted radio to a Dalton wrecker service.
Dickson said in December he had asked Grant to remain on as interim police chief until a search for his successor could be completed.
The city began advertising the police chief position in January and received 14 applications.
Council members had narrowed the list to four that they wanted to bring in for interviews in March when Gov. Brian Kemp issued a shelter-in-place order.
That order expired April 30, and the council members brought candidates in for interviews during the past two weeks.
The police department has four full-time officers and also utilizes several part-time officers as needed.