Chief of Police

James Barnwell was selected to become the Chief of Police at the Savannah State University Department of Public Safety in 2015. Barnwell started with the Savannah Police Department in June 1983. Serving in the Criminal  Investigations Division in 1987, he was promoted to the rank of Sergeant in 1988. He transferred to the Patrol Division and served there until 1991 where he was promoted to Lieutenant.

As Lieutenant he was assigned to the Internal Affairs Unit where he served until 1995. He returned to Criminal Investigations until his promotion to Captain in 1997. He was assigned as Commander of Precinct II where he was able to achieve a significant reduction in violent crimes. In 2001 he was reassigned to command and lead the Internal Affairs Division until his promotion to Major in December 2004. Upon his appointment to Major, he was assigned as Commander of the Criminal Investigations Division.

During his tenure Barnwell has implemented, taught and trained various police departments in Community Oriented Policing and Problem Oriented Policing. 

Major Barnwell has always been involved in the community and is proud of his work with the Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity, Inc., Rebuilding Together Savannah (formerly Christmas In April) and several other local organizations.

 A product of the public school system; Major James Barnwell is a graduate of Beach High School. He holds a B.S. degree from Savannah State University. He obtained his Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Columbus State University. He is a graduate of the FBI National Academy and the Georgia Law Enforcement Command College.