SAVANNAH, GA (February 10, 2012): Two long-term members of the Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department advanced to the rank of major in a joint ceremony Friday in which 23 officers were promoted and 20 recruits joined the department.


Police Chief Willie Lovett appointed former captains Larry Branson and Richard Zapal to major, the highest ranks in the department behind Lovett in the ceremony at the Armstrong Center. The four majors in the department form the chief’s executive team in running the department.


Also promoted were five to the rank of captain, two lieutenants and 15 sergeants.


At the same time, 20 new recruits were pinned as officers in the department, ending 19 weeks of extensive training.


“It was a pleasure to be able to recognize the long-term efforts of so many individuals,” said Lovett,. “And we had a lot of very good applicants. These were tough decisions to make.”


Promoted to captain were DeVonn Adams, Cedric Phillips, Carl Ramey, Philip Reilley and Terry Shoop. Promoted to lieutenant were Ashley Brown and David Gay.

New sergeants included  Christopher Benda, David Barefield, Allan Clairmont, Keith Dennis, Mark Fletcher, Timmy Gonzales, Harry Henderson, Christopher Hewett, Josh Hunt, Malik Khalis, Faquita Small-Lloyd, Max Nowinsky, Andrea Williams and Stephanie Lee Williams.


Sworn in as new officers in the pinning ceremony prior to the promotions were Chris Ameduri, Mark Blaschak, Monique Carlson, Jeremy Dyches, Benjamin Ferrero, Derrick Fulmer, Ryan Fletcher, Heidi Hodge, Joseph Hood, George Jusino, Max Mathies, Walter Medford, Esvin Menendez, Josh Miller,  Craig Monahan, Jeremy Postreich, Otilio Rivera and Stanley Swisher.


They will now join a patrol training officer in two-officer cars for the next 10 weeks before patrolling on their own.


Branson recently was assigned to the Southside Precinct as commander after serving in the 911 communications center. He joined the Savannah Police Department in 1986 and has earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and a master’s degree in public administration. He has served in varied positions inside the department and was instrumental in establishing the Community Oriented Policing programs that brought SCMPD national praise. He and his wife Paula have two sons and three daughters.


Zapal, 50, has been a member of the department since 1982 and has served as precinct commander in the Southside and West Chatham precincts. He was promoted to major on the 20th anniversary of his promotion to sergeant. A Chicago native, he joined the department after spending three years as a Ranger in the United State Army stationed at Hunter Army Air Field. He also has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and a master’s in public administration.  He and his wife Trini have two daughters.


Adams is a Savannah native, 19-year veteran of the department and a graduate of Benedictine Military School.  He was one of two lieutenants in the Criminal Investigations Division when promoted. He has a bachelor’s in criminal justice and masters in law enforcement management and is one of five Americans and the only African-American to attend and graduate from the London Metropolitan Police Service Senior Investigative Management Program in England.


Phillips was promoted to captain after serving as watch commander in the Southside Precinct. He joined the department in 1991 and has a bachelor’s in criminal justice and master’s in public administration.


Ramey is a 29-year veteran of the department with bachelor’s in criminal justice and master’s in public administration, is a Police Officers Standards and Training -certified instructor and a former professor at Savannah State University and current instructor at the University of Phoenix. He also is an ordained minister in the Evangel Temple Full Gospel Church and the 1996 Southside Optimist Club Officer of the Year.


Reilley is a 32-year veteran of the department and the great nephew of John Joseph Reilley, the Savannah Police Department’s first captain in 1930. A native of Savannah, he is a graduate of Armstrong State College and St. Leo University and helped organize the precinct system and training officer program the department still uses. He also was responsible for the successful state and national accreditation efforts of the department.


Shoop is a 25-year veteran of the department and a former U.S. Army Ranger. He has a bachelor’s in human resource management and a master’s in public administration, and is a graduate of the FBI National Academy. He is a Georgia POST instructor and holds specialty instructor certifications in firearms, defensive tactics, TASER and baton.


Brown was promoted to Lieutenant from his position as sergeant over the CVrime Suppression Unit in the Central Precinct..  He has been named Officer of the Year twice and awarded the Life Saver Award, Exceptional Service Award and Medal of Valor. He has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and is the son of retired Lt. C.D. Brown.


Gay has been the department’s special event coordinator responsible for such events as the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade and festivities and last year’s Rock N Roll Marathon and Half-Marathon. He has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from AASU.




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