J.P. Foster

J.P. Foster will be taking over Code Enforcement duties for the City of Cedartown. / Contributed by Aimee Madden, City of Cedartown

  • Cedartown's new code enforcement officer serving his hometown once again

J.P. Foster’s life has taken him many places. Atlanta, Calhoun, Canton, South America, Northern Virginia -- but he’ll be the first to say that his home is always Cedartown.

“I am a product of the Goodyear Village. 237 Third Street to be exact. Born and raised here. My love for this city runs deep,” Foster said.

So, it stands to reason that his passion for this place he calls home led him to accept a job designed to improve the quality of life for those that live here.

Foster was recently hired as the Cedartown Police Department’s Code Enforcement officer. A title he inherits from retiring officer Don Matthews.

His first day on the job was June 11.

He’s undoubtedly familiar with the ins and outs of law enforcement and the court system. As he defines it, he began as a rookie cop with the Cedartown Police Department in 1979.

“W.M. Moss hired me and I spent a lot of time shaking doors -- a term used for making sure local businesses had their doors locked. It was a good time to be a rookie in Cedartown. That was back when a car chase was big news. A lot different from these days.” Foster explained. “I did that for about a year or so, then I had some college friends of mine convince me to apply for a job with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.”

That friendly peer pressure sparked a nearly 30 year career in law enforcement.

Foster spent the next three decades dealing with homicides and drug dealers, money laundering and corruption cases. In 2008, he traded all of that for Bermuda shorts, sunglasses and flip flops and headed south, all the way to Cartagena, Colombia, and began to enjoy retirement. 2012 rolled around and Foster found himself moving again, this time to Northern Virginia.

A responsibility to provide care and comfort for his parents led him back to Cedartown in 2013. He’s enjoyed being back in his hometown.

“My wife Sherri and I have loved being here. We’ve done some renovations to our home and are ready to settle in,” Foster said.

Of course, for Foster, settling in doesn’t mean being idle.

“I saw on Facebook where the code enforcement job was being offered, I applied and here I am, ready to get back to work,” he added.

His main focus remains the same as it was on his first day as a police officer decades ago: helping people.

“You know I am under no misconception that this will be an easy job. My career with the GBI and every other aspect of my career has allowed me to relate to people from all aspects of life. I want to help people find solutions to their problems,” Foster said. “In this job, I will not be able to please everyone but I will be fair and I will be honest. I want to be a cheerleader for people that are having issues with the current state of their home or their property and I would much rather see them spend money to improve things rather than spend money on fines or court fees.”

Working to make Cedartown a better place is not going to be easy, he attests.

“I want people to know that we are working hard to improve this town, but it’s going to take a lot of help and involvement from our residents as we convince people to take ownership of their property and their neighborhoods,” he said.

Foster is a 1974 graduate of Cedartown High School and graduated from Jacksonville State University with a degree in criminal justice/law enforcement.

He and his late wife, Danna Edwards Foster raised two children, Matt and Zach. Foster and his wife, Sherri, have one son, Gabe.