BIRMINGHAM, AL (WIAT) – New Mayor Randall Woodfin talked a lot about cracking down on crime during his campaign, but now, he’s looking for a new police chief.
Wednesday morning, Woodfin said that long-time Chief A.C. Roper told him that he would not be submitting his resume to be considered for reappointment to his position.
“We asked all previous administration employees to submit their resumes to reapply for their positions at city hall,” Woodfin explained. “Many employees applied for their positions and some did not.”
Woodfin said that Roper served as chief for the last decade with distinction.
“I honor his service,” he said. “We all should. At the same time, Chief Roper’s departure provides us with an opportunity to take a fresh look at solutions to address one of the most pressing issues facing our city, which as we all know, is crime.”
In a written statement, Roper explained that he made the decision with his family after a considerable amount of prayer.
“I advised Mayor Woodfin on November 8th that this is perfecting timing since November 26th would be my 10 year anniversary. Serving as Chief of Police in the amazing city of my birth has been the privilege of a lifetime. My family and I are extremely proud and grateful to the officers, professional staff members, citizens, and partner agencies who have supported me through me tenure.”
Roper will be staying on at Woodfin’s request while the city searches for his replacement. Woodfin called Roper’s decision to retire, ‘voluntary’.
“We will undergo a national search for a police chief,” said Woodfin. “That search will include an evaluation of local talent that’s already in our city as well as state.”
Woodfin explained that he is not interested in rushing the process. He wants to find the right candidate for the job. He said he is also interested in community input. He anticipates that the earliest the position could be filled would be in the next 100 days.
The new mayor also hinted at changes in leadership and structure in the departments of community and economic development. Human Resources Director Peggy Polk is also retiring.
Woodfin is in the process of vetting firms to conduct an audit, explaining that the city has used the same firm since 1979. He is interested in making sure that there aren’t any ‘top-heavy’ departments. He said he hopes to be mostly staffed by the new fiscal year. So far, out of former Mayor Bell’s appointees–Woodfin has kept 48 people on staff.