Lunch & Learn with Billy Grogan and Mike Carlson, Dunwoody Police Chiefs

Audra, Peggy, Billy Grogan, Mike Carlson

by Audra H. Anders and Peggy Smith for The Aha! Connection

Last week we treated the incoming and outgoing Dunwoody Police Chiefs to lunch at Joey D’s Oak Room.  The hostess informed us that Chief Grogan is a regular and she was thrilled to see him and to hug his neck!  The restaurant was packed at 11:30 on a rainy Tuesday.  We received excellent service, tasty lunch options at reasonable prices in a beautiful atmosphere.  My husband and I (Audra) are also Joey D’s regulars.  Kirk proclaims:  “for the money…Joey D’s Oak Room has the best steak in Dunwoody!”  Here’s what we had for lunch.  Oops…we forgot to take a picture of Chief Grogan’s soup…

Here’s what we learned about retiring Chief Billy Grogan and incoming Chief Mike Carlson:

Chief Mike Carlson lives in Milton with his wife and son.  His son is a high school senior with plans to attend Western Carolina University in the fall.  Carlson’s son aspires to be a firefighter and is currently part of the Cherokee Fire Explorers and is interning with the Sandy Springs Fire Department.  Chief Carlson’s wife is a nurse….the desire to serve others definitely runs in their family!  Chief Carlson has been with Dunwoody Police Department (DPD) since their inception.  During his tenure with the DPD, he has been promoted from Officer to Sergeant to Lieutenant to Major to Deputy Chief and now to Chief!  He should definitely be prepared to handle his new role!

Retired Chief Billy Grogan lives in Marietta where he and his wife (an accountant) raised their two grown children.  He has two grandchildren and is thrilled they live nearby.  He told us his retirement plans include playing more golf and teaching/consulting.  Chief Grogan developed a law enforcement leadership website, Top Cop Leadership, to assist aspiring law enforcement leaders to achieve their promotional goals up to and including being appointed as a police chief.  Grogan was recently recognized by the Georgia General Assembly as the state’s 2023-24 Outstanding Police Chief of the Year.

June 1 is Grogan’s last day on the force, but the transition of Chief duties from Grogan to Carlson happened last Friday, April 12, 2024.  Did you know the DPD has 64 people on staff and will increase to 68 by July?  Some are civilians with various roles such as assistants, crime scene technicians, analysts, etc. but most are officers.  The DPD is actively hiring!  Did you know 35% of the police department staff live in Dunwoody?  The City of Dunwoody offers an $800 per month stipend to encourage officers to live in our city.  Click here to find out more about the hiring process, job requirements, and pay scale. Incoming Chief Carlson currently has the opportunity to create promotions among staff leading to better retention within the department.  In July, a City Council approved, real time crime center for Dunwoody will come to fruition.  They promised us a tour, so stay tuned for more information on that later this summer.

Both Chiefs feel Dunwoody is a very welcoming and supportive community from the citizens to the Mayor and City Council.   When asked about the biggest “crime issues” in Dunwoody, they mentioned shoplifting, entering automobiles and fraud/identity theft/scammers.  They were also not surprised to hear Peggy and me complaining about traffic and speeders on our streets!  All officers carry Narcan and a full trunk of medical supplies….I even asked for a “show and tell” of the police car trunk supplies and they complied!  

DPD Trunk

Sadly, “Death by Overdose” is very common.  In fact, the morning of our lunch, a Dunwoody Police officer brought someone back from death with Narcan.  You can review the Dunwoody “Death by Overdose” statistics here.  The Chiefs asked me to mention that “Death by Overdose” does NOT always mean someone took an over-abundance of a drug….it most often means that whatever drug they used contained Fentanyl.  In many cases, officers are able to administer the life-saving drug, Narcan, to revise the victim.  Tragically, some victims do not survive.

We very much appreciated the opportunity to meet and have lunch with the Chiefs.  I should mention, we felt very safe sitting at the table with them!  Peggy and I are excited about an upcoming introduction to the Public Information Officer and the Community Outreach Officer so we can continue to keep everyone informed about what’s going on with our Dunwoody Police Department!