TALLADEGA, Ala. (WIAT) – Talladega City Council has appointed a new police chief. Incoming Chief Diane Thomas got her start with police work in Montgomery, then worked her way up to assistant chief at the Prattville Police Department. She had served in that role since 2015.

Thomas said her mission is to be more involved in the community

“Once we can build those relationships, we can see good changes in Talladega,” Thomas said.

She said building a solid foundation of relationships is how she can help resolve unsolved murders and youth gun violence. Over the weekend, a 14-year-old died in a shooting.

“We’re going to need our parents to get on board, cooperate with the police department and let us see what we can do to help our kids,” Thomas said.

City Manager Seddrick Hill said they went about finding a new chief differently this time, by hosting a community forum for Talladega residents to help decide on the new leader. Hill said they did something similar for police officers.

“We involved everybody, got all of the input and then we made a final decision,” Hill said. “It’s representative of diversity and restoring safety and a sense of pride to our community.”  

This is change Hill said is necessary.

“Everything is about the citizens and the kids of the community,” Hill said. “They need the support, and they need a change, hopefully this change is it.” 

Thomas said it has always been her dream to be a police chief.

“God made his decision for me and opened the door for me to achieve that top level,” Thomas said. “I’m excited for the opportunity I have been given at the Talladega Police Department in fulling my dream.”

In addition to her 30 plus years of experience, Thomas is an adjunct Professor at Faulkner University teaching criminal justice. She has received the Dr. Dorothy Height Leadership Award, the Woman of Character Luminary Award and the Crime Stopper Law Enforcement Officer of the Year award.

Thomas will be sworn in on April 25 and will begin her new role immediately.