Archived Story

Next chief of police?

Published 10:27am Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Council hears from candidates vying for ACPD’s top position

The Alexander City Council has interviewed its candidates for police chief and now all that remains is making the decision.

The city council interviewed five candidates Monday and Tuesday to replace former Alexander City Police Chief Charles Rafford.

The council asked each candidate questions regarding topics including how they would manage the department’s budget, their vision for the department and their management style.

The council will officially vote and select a new police chief at the July 1 council meeting.

Deputy Police Chief and acting chief of the department Willie Robinson said his years of experience with the department qualify him to be the new chief of police

“I love this department, and I love this city. I have seen the department when it was high, and I have seen it when it was low, but for the past several years it has had the highest morale since I have been here 34 years,” Robinson said. “This may sound arrogant, but none of those other candidates have the experience that I have. I have run a police department. That’s why you should select me as your police chief.”

ACPD Lt. Mario Hodge said his years of training would enable him to enact crucial values needed throughout a police department.

“I feel that this position would enable me to employ and utilize the skills and knowledge I’ve learned over the 16 years that I’ve been a police officer, through the advanced training classes I’ve taken during that 16 years and my studies in the criminal justice field,” Hodge said. “As police chief, I would ensure that everybody in my department would provide the police service that’s professional and committed to core values like integrity, ethics, fairness and passion within their dealings with everybody in the community.”

Samuel Royster, who is a former Alexander City police sergeant with 25 years of law-enforcement experience and currently works as an on site property manager of the Goodwater Housing Authority, said one of his focuses in promoting community-oriented policing would be to have officers more visible throughout the community.

“I would like to see a police department that’s perceived as a little more resident friendly. Community policing is something I’m very familiar with,” Royster said. “I would want to see police officers getting out of the car more instead of so much traffic enforcement where every interaction you have with a member of the public is something negative. I would like to get out and meet the people.”

Chris Cannon said his years of experience in administrative positions at the Calera, Ashville, and Dayton, Ohio, police departments would help him in working with the community as police chief.

“I believe my roughly 30 years of experience in different places brings a bit to the table to serve the community. I have a diverse background in my career. I have worked at several different agencies,” Cannon said. “About half of my experience has been in supervisory positions. I believe I have a lot of different experiences at different agencies that brings a lot to the table to be able to act as chief of police.”

David Gallew is currently an intelligence analyst with the Alabama Department of Public Safety and Alabama Fusion Center with 11 years of police officer experience.

Gallew said his experience working in investigations with organizations such as the FBI and ATF give him experience that few candidates possess.

“I believe everyone that’s come before you each brings something unique. I believe that I personally bring connections throughout the state and all over the country with various state and federal agencies I’ve worked with,” Gallew said. “I believe that’s something that I bring to the table that no one else can.”