Killed officer spent 3 years here

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 12, 2003

The shooting of two police officers and a dispatcher in Fayette this weekend could have happened anywhere. And no one knows that better than Demopolis Police Chief Charles Avery.

Early Saturday morning, a man being booked for stealing a car opened fire on Fayette Officers James Crump, 40, and Arnold Strickland, 55. From 1992-1995, Strickland was a member of the Demopolis police force.

Avery remembers Strickland as a good officer and a loyal employee.

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Scott Jones, a paramedic in Marengo County, spent time working with Strickland when the former Demopolis officer moonlighted as a security officer at Bryan W. Whitfield Memorial Hospital.

Jones said seeing a friend killed in the line of duty is hard to handle.

Devin Darnell Moore, 18, was picked up by Fayette police shortly after 3 a.m. Saturday after police discovered Moore driving a stolen car. When Moore was taken to police headquarters, he allegedly took a gun from one of the officers and opened fire, killing both Crump and Strickland, as well as Leslie "Ace" Mealer, a dispatcher for the Fayette police.

Though bringing the culprit to justice is the most important part of the Fayette case, using this experience to make the Demopolis police station safer is an objective both Avery and Manuel take seriously.

Earlier this week, Avery circulated a written memo to his police officers reminding them of policies designed to protect the officers.

According to Manuel, police officers are instructed to disarm when they begin the booking process.