Dick Mecum’s long career in law enforcement is likely winding to a close.
President Barack Obama this week nominated former Atlanta Police Chief Beverly Harvard as the next U.S. marshal for the Northern District of Georgia, meaning Mecum’s eight-year tenure in the post will probably end in a few months.
Mecum, a Gainesville resident and the Hall County sheriff from 1980 to 1992, has served as U.S. marshal for the district that includes Atlanta, Gainesville, Newnan and Rome since 2002, when he was nominated by George W. Bush.
The U.S. marshal is in charge of federal courthouse security, transportation of federal prisoners and the search for interstate fugitives, among other tasks. He serves at the pleasure of the president.
Mecum stayed on the job longer than he expected after Obama took office. As a lifelong Republican and the first Republican ever elected to countywide office in Hall County, he knew that a Democrat would be nominated for his job eventually, following the change in administration.
“I’m certainly not a Democrat’s fair-haired boy,” Mecum joked Thursday.
Mecum began his law enforcement career as an officer with the Fort Collins, Colo., police department in 1963. He said he would retire when his tenure as U.S. marshal ended.
“It’s refreshing to know that it’s getting ready to happen,” Mecum said. “I’ve been preparing for it for a long time and I’m ready.”
Mecum estimated it could be two to three months before Harvard could be confirmed by the Senate.
Harvard would be the first woman to head up the marshal’s office in the Northern District of Georgia. She was also the first female police chief when she took the reins of the Atlanta Police Department, which she headed from 1994 to 2002. Most recently, she has served as director of transportation security coordination for the U.S. Transportation Security Administration.
Efforts to reach Harvard for comment were unsuccessful Thursday.