Governor Brian P. Kemp today announced that Colonel Chris Wright, Commissioner of the Department of Public Safety (DPS), is retiring following many years of distinguished service in state law enforcement.
“On behalf of all Georgians, Marty, the girls, and I want to thank Colonel Wright for the incredible job he has done as head of the Department of Public Safety,” said Governor Kemp. “During times of civil unrest and the unprecedented challenges of the pandemic, Colonel Wright demonstrated resilience, foresight, and strength that has led to reductions in crime and safer communities all across Georgia. He has led as he served – with distinction – and we wish him and his family well in this next chapter.”
Governor Kemp also announced that the Board of Public Safety unanimously voted today to approve Lt. Colonel William “Billy” Hitchens to serve as the next DPS Commissioner and Colonel of the Georgia State Patrol, effective October 1. The Board also unanimously confirmed Major Kendrick Lowe to serve as Lt. Colonel of the Georgia State Patrol and Deputy Commissioner for DPS, also effective October 1. Lt. Colonel Joshua Lamb will continue his service as a valued member of the senior DPS leadership team and will be promoted to Assistant Commissioner.
“Keeping Georgians safe will always be my top priority. My entire family is thankful we will continue to have great leadership at the Department of Public Safety and overseeing the Georgia State Patrol,” said Governor Kemp. “As someone who has dedicated his career to this agency, Marty, the girls, and I are grateful for Lt. Colonel Hitchens’ willingness to step into this new role. We’re also thankful for Major Lowe and Lt. Colonel Lamb’s further service. All three of these men are dedicated to the job, to setting high standards for our state law enforcement, and most of all to protecting their fellow Georgians. We are thankful for that ongoing commitment and for the sacrifices of their families.”
Lt. Colonel William “Billy” Hitchens, III currently serves as Deputy Commissioner for the Department of Public Safety. He is also the Director of Field Operations, overseeing the Georgia State Patrol, the Motor Carrier Compliance Division, the Capitol Police Division, the Headquarters Adjutant, and the Special Operations Adjutant.
Prior to this appointment, Lt. Colonel Hitchens served as Major and South Adjutant. He began his career with the Georgia State Patrol as a Cadet Trooper in Sylvania and graduated from the 69th Trooper School in 1995. During the 1996 Olympic Games held in Atlanta, Lt. Colonel Hitchens was assigned to Centennial Park and received a Meritorious Service Award for his actions prior to and immediately after the bombing. Lt. Colonel Hitchens was also selected to serve on the committee which developed the department’s mission statement and core beliefs.
Lt. Colonel Hitchens earned an undergraduate degree from Georgia Southern University and an MPA from Columbus State University. He is a graduate of the Georgia Law Enforcement Command College and the FBI National Academy.
Lt. Colonel Hitchens and his wife, Angie, have two children and reside in Statesboro.
Major Kendrick Lowe currently serves as North Division Adjutant for the Georgia State Patrol, responsible for DPS operations in the Northern half of the state. He oversees 30 Patrol Posts, North and Middle Nighthawks DUI Task Forces, the GSP Motor Unit, the Crime Suppression Unit, and five Troop Communication Centers. Previously, he served as the Troop A Commander.
Major Lowe began his career with the Georgia State Patrol in 1993 as a Radio Operator before graduating from the 72nd Trooper School in 1997. Having served in various posts, he was a valued part of both Governor Barnes and Governor Perdue’s protection details. He also served as Director of Executive Security for Governor Perdue. In 2007, he was promoted to the rank of Sergeant before later serving as the State Patrol law enforcement liaison with the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety. He then served in various other capacities around the state before taking his current position.
Major Lowe and his wife, Avary, have two children and reside in Lake Spivey.
Lt. Colonel Joshua Lamb currently serves as Director of Administrative Services for the Department of Public Safety, overseeing the Office of Professional Standards, the Human Resources Division, the Public Information Office, and Legislative Affairs. Previously, he served as Chief of Staff for the Department.
Lt. Colonel Lamb began his law enforcement career as a Special Agent with the Tri-Circuit Drug Task Force before graduating from the 74th Georgia State Patrol Trooper School. He served in leadership positions in posts across the state and spent eight years as a member of the State of Georgia SWAT team. Lt. Colonel Lamb then became a member of the Planning and Research Unit where he created departmental policy, assisted in planning special events like the 2018 National College Championship Game and Super Bowl LIII, and worked on legislative affairs matters, including the distracted driving law. During his notable career, he also served as the Director of Training, SWAT Team Commander, Executive Officer to the Deputy Commissioner, and in other leadership roles.
Lt. Colonel Lamb earned a bachelor’s from Georgia Southern University and an MPA from Columbus State University. He attended the FBI National Academy and is one of only two people from Georgia to be chosen to represent their cohort as Class Spokesperson. He was also an FBI Executive Fellow.
Lt. Colonel Lamb and his wife, Alison, have two daughters.