This site is being established in September 2021 as an information hub for the forthcoming jury selection and trial related to the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery in Brunswick, GA on February 23, 2020. Preparing Glynn County for the trial is a crucial undertaking as we welcome the media, activists and other interest parties into our community. To ensure a peaceful jury selection and trial process, local elected and appointed officials have assembled a team of local law enforcement, firefighters, public works, and other professional public servants to coordinate with state and Federal partners. Planning for potential impacts upon the community is a team effort.
What is a Unified Command?
Following the framework established by FEMA and the U.S. Forest Service, these local partners will utilize a formal incident command model that has a long-standing track record for coordinated response to various types and sizes of incidents. Known in this case as a unified command, this structure will allow decisions to be made by a group of 7 to 10 individuals, known as Incident Commanders, chosen for their experience and training critical to the nature of this specific event. Elected officials will then be briefed on planning efforts for their feedback before they are set in motion.
Who are the Incident Commanders?
The Glynn Unified Command is comprised of eight leaders within their respective agencies.
Brunswick Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office – Jody Ponsell
Serving as Chief Investigator for the District Attorney’s Office for the Brunswick Judicial Circuit since January 1, 2021, Chief Investigator Ponsell was appointed and brought onboard to serve newly-elected District Attorney Keith Higgins. He was chosen to serve the District Attorney’s Office based on his 37 years in law enforcement, experience gained at the local, state, Federal and international level. Prior to his appointment by District Attorney Higgins, Chief Ponsell has worked in Glynn County since 2016 where he served as a Special Deputy United States Marshal Court Security Officer for the United States Federal Courts in Brunswick. During his long career he has served as a Georgia Bureau of Investigation Special Agent and, after September 11, 2001, joined the United States Federal Air Marshal Service as a Federal Air Marshal. From 2005 to 2007 he served as an international law enforcement instructor in Iraq. A veteran of the United States Navy he saw service as a Naval Aircrewman in both Lebanon and Grenada.
Chief Ponsell brings dedication to duty and a commitment to serve as a team member on the Unified Command. He has repeatedly demonstrated the ability to make an informed decision under pressure. His experience provides valuable insight into how to respond both critically and timely to rapidly changing environments.
City of Brunswick Fire Department – Timothy White
Assistant Chief Timothy White has been in public safety for a total of 37 years. He has served as Assistant Chief/Fire Marshal for the City of Brunswick Fire Department since September of 2017. His career in fire service began in 1984 with the City of Douglas Fire Department as a volunteer firefighter, taking a fulltime position there in 1986. He achieved the position of Fire Chief in 2001 and remained in the position for 15 years. He then spent three years with the Georgia State Fire Marshal’s office serving eight counties.
Assistant Chief White received POST certification in Law Enforcement in 2013. He has also been an adjunct instructor for Georgia Public Safety Training Center (GPSTC) since 2001.
City of Brunswick Police Department – Greg Post
Major Greg Post, MPA (Georgia Southern University) serves as the Assistant Chief of the City of Brunswick Police Department. He began his career in 1991 as a patrol officer, advancing through the ranks as a Training Officer, Division Commander and administration. He is well versed in budgeting, human resources and also provides information technology support for high security systems used by the Police Department. He is a graduate of the 238th session of the FBI National Academy.
Having lived in the community since 1985, Major Post is an advocate for downtown economic development and focuses on relationship building with community leaders and citizens alike. During the G8 Summit, Major Post served on the leadership team as a strategist and coordinator of Brunswick Police Department staff as they worked alongside state and Federal law enforcement.
College of Coastal Georgia Police Department – Bryan Sipe
Chief Bryan Sipe, MPA (Columbus State University) gained his 27 years of law enforcement experience beginning with joining the Brunswick Police Department in 1994. He made his transition to the College of Coastal Georgia Police Department in 1996 to pursue educational opportunities, a benefit that led to his loyalty and tenure. He was promoted to the Chief of Police/Director of Campus Safety in 2009. He is the longest serving Chief of Police within the University System of Georgia. Chief Sipe is a graduate of the Georgia Law Enforcement Command College (class #40).
He is motivated by the opportunity to share his acquired knowledge and life experience with others in order to promote professionalism in his field. He believes in the traditional foundations and principles of law enforcement and is inspired by combining those values with the ever-changing generational, technical, and societal influences.
Chief Sipe has been an active member of the Glynn County Local Emergency Planning Committee, an all-hazards coordinating team made up of over 100 local government, non-governmental and private sector businesses, for the past 15 years.
Glynn County Board of Education Police Department – Rod Ellis
Chief Ellis grew up locally in Glynn County, and began his career in public safety in 1987 with the Glynn County Police. He transitioned to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources in 1989 as a State Game Warden and was with DNR 17 years. Ellis also served part-time for the Glynn County Sheriff’s Office. He moved to the Glynn County Board of Education Police in 2008, and has served as their Chief of Police for 11 years. He was recently promoted to the position of Coordinator of School Safety, to include fire safety and emergency management for the Glynn County schools.
While with DNR-Law Enforcement, Ellis served in critical roles in events such as; the 1994 Albany Floods, the 1996 State Olympic Law Enforcement Command, as well as the 2004 G8 Summit. Since he began with the Glynn BOE Police, he has also networked with the local EMA to coordinate evacuation buses for numerous past local hurricane events. Ellis graduated from the Georgia State University GILEE program and traveled to the State of Israel where he studied counter-terrorism tactics. He is also a FLETC certified active threat response instructor and a general Georgia POST law enforcement instructor.
A published author, analyst, and lecturer on subjects related to school safety and mass violence, he is able to offer insight into hazard mitigation and crisis response. Additionally, Chief Ellis serves as an elected area representative for the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police.
Glynn County Fire Department – Travis Johnson
EMS Division Chief Travis Johnson began his career in public safety in 2008, following 12 years as a Materials Analyst for the Georgia Department of Transportation. His career transition took him to the Glynn County Fire Department in an effort to expand into greater ways to serve the community.
In 2017, Chief Johnson was selected serve on the command staff for the fire department responsible for all Emergency Medical Services activities. A licensed paramedic since 2011, he continues to gain knowledge of emergency services. Chief Johnson has completed numerous courses through GPSTC and the USFA. Chief Johnson is pursuing his Bachelor’s Degree in Fire Administration from Columbia Southern University.
Glynn County Police Department – Jeremiah Bergquist
Captain Jeremiah Bergquist, MPSA (Columbus State University) spent his youth in Atlanta, moving to Glynn County in 2006 to join the Glynn County Police Department as a patrol officer. He began his law enforcement career in 2004 after graduation from Southwest Baptist University where he studied psychology. He completed his Master’s Degree in Public Safety Administration in an effort to better his understanding of the role of leadership within public safety and found the variety of opportunities in Glynn County a perfect fit for his career goals.
He is serving his community to help provide a future for his family and highly values upholding the constitutional rights for all.
Glynn County Sheriff’s Office – Justin Juliano
Major Justin Juliano, MPA (Ashford University), is a lifelong resident of Glynn County. He started his law enforcement career at the Brunswick Police Department in 2002. He transitioned to the Glynn County Sheriff’s Office in 2009 seeking greater responsibility.
Major Juliano currently serves as the Training Coordinator at the Sheriff’s Office where he prepares staff at all levels of the organization in best-practice tactics and strategies needed to provide the highest quality professional policing service to the community. Most recently, he was assigned to the Drug Enforcement Administration as a Task Force Officer.
How Can Members of the Public Help?
The role of concerned citizens is actually the greatest of all involved. We believe and trust in the judicial process. We also highly value our right as Americans to peacefully assemble and protest. To protect that right and ensure the safety of both our citizens in Glynn County and the guests to our community, law enforcement officers will be working diligently to plan for peaceful activities and preparing for any appropriate actions that may be necessary to respond to activities that are violent and/or unnecessarily disruptive.
We share the love that you have for our community and want to work hard to protect that. Please contact us if you observe or hear of efforts by those that would seek to disrupt the unity of our community.
We will soon begin posting weekly updates on planning efforts. We welcome you to subscribe to this website to stay in the loop on how this event will impact you and what you can do to help you prepare your family, friends and neighbors.