Yandura was announced last week as the new head of the municipality’s law enforcement department by Mayor J. Max Davis.
“Today is a historic day because it is the start of Brookhaven becoming a safer community,” said Davis in a statement. “Chief Yandura’s record of reducing crime, building community partnerships and leading with integrity is exactly what Brookhaven needs for us to meet this goal.”
Yandura said he was attracted to the job in Brookhaven because he liked the area and it was an opportunity of a lifetime to build a department from scratch and make it something Brookhaven could be proud of.
However, he is not immune to the fact that this will be a tough job.
“There’s a lot involved — legal, personnel, equipment, traffic enforcement and things like that,” he said. “It’s a big undertaking but … I’m up for the challenge.”
Having the community and future police department work together is one of Yandura’s main goals. He added he would like to have the community know officers by name in more of a personal way and there were some programs he plans to initiate down the road to get that going.
Yandura previously served as police chief in Hiram and College Park, according to a news release. His background includes experience with managing 160 employees in College Park and a $12 million annual budget.
He is a graduate of the FBI Academy and certified by the Georgia Police Officers Standards and Training Council. Yandura earned a master’s in public administration from Roosevelt University in Chicago and a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from the University of Illinois.
One of his first tasks when he officially takes office will be to get a good, solid command staff on board.
“We’re reviewing and talking to some people right now,” said Yandura. “And hopefully we’ll have somebody on board right when I start. From there we’ll divvy up the responsibilities … we’re going to work as a team to start everything off that needs to be done.”
City Manager Marie Garrett selected Yandura after reviewing 98 applications from around the nation and interviewing 10 finalists, according to a news release.
“I am excited to have Chief Yandura join our team,” said Garrett, in a statement. “We received a lot of interest from experienced candidates, but Yandura was the right person to help build a new police department from the ground up.”
The new chief’s official first day will be Monday.