City of Selma to announce new police chief on Monday

Published 6:48 pm Saturday, January 28, 2017

Selma Mayor Darrio Melton hopes to announce the city’s new police chief Monday.

Melton has been searching for a new chief since John Brock stepped down from the position in December, and he said he has found the right person for the job.

“One of the referrals I got, hands down, no one else was even close,” Melton said Thursday.

Email newsletter signup

“So that’s the person we’ve been speaking with and hopefully we are ready to go ahead and move forward Monday with that possibility.”

Melton is not releasing the name of the city’s next chief until it is a done deal and the announcement has been made to the police department, but he did give some insight on his pick.

“We feel strongly in regards to the leadership that we’re bringing in, someone who can right the ship and lead that cavalry forward in regards to dealing with the issues in our community,” the mayor said. “We’re confident in that leadership and ability to provide the leadership that we definitely need in our city.”

Melton said he had several resumes and referrals for the job, but the person he expects to name chief is the right fit.

“We’ve spent many hours trying to work through this,” Melton said. “We’ve been taking our time going around and trying to find the right fit for Selma, and given that we are considered the number one city in regards to per capita with violence in Alabama, we’re trying to right that ship and turn that curve, so our city is not reflecting such a bad light.”

Melton said it was important to find the right person so he could feel comfortable letting the new chief move the department forward and strengthen it.

“Having someone I feel real comfortable in and who can basically run the department the way it needs to be ran … it is a burden lifted from the standpoint of accountability and trust I have in the new chief’s ability,” Melton said. “I think the general public will be receptive of the new chief and will be amazed about the quality of the new chief we’re bringing in.”

The mayor said there were specific qualities he was looking for in a candidate, and the potential new chief has many of those qualities. Melton said administration and getting assistance from outside agencies were two of those characteristics he was looking for.

“Also a chief who has a strong interest and effort in recruitment to beefing up our department,” Melton said. “A chief who is also interested in 21st century policing with technology is of the foremost importance for us, and a chief who is very aggressive in regards to combatting violence and drugs throughout the community.”

Melton hinted at the new chief having experience dealing with both state and federal law enforcement agencies.

“We’re not just looking for a chief that has been in a city, but a chief that has experience dealing with state and federal agencies because the issues that we have in Selma are grand,” Melton said. “They can’t just be addressed on the municipality level, the state and the federal government will have to be involved in addressing and combating some of the serious issues we have in regards to gang activity and violence in our community.”

Melton said a change in Selma’s crime rate won’t happen in an instant because the issue is something that has been building up over the years.

“We inherited this issue, and this is an issue we realize we have to address head on,” he said. “We know there won’t be quick victories or progress in regards to overnight, but day by day, week by week, month by month, year by year, we know we can get ourselves out of this hole that we’re in in regards to public safety.”

Melton said he hopes to make the announcement Monday morning.