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Avery calls it a career

After almost 34 years of public service to the city of Demopolis, Police Chief Charles Avery has decided his department is in good enough shape to walk away.

Avery will serve one more week as police chief and his retirement will be effective next Friday, Nov. 14.

Avery came to Demopolis from the Tuscaloosa Police Department and worked his way up to sergeant.

In all, Avery has served as chief for more than 18 years. Through all those years, he said the department’s greatest moment came during the Cleo Hunter case.

Jeff Manuel, who serves as public safety director for the city of Demopolis, will assume the duties of acting police chief, according to Caldwell.

Caldwell also said the search for a new police chief could take until next May. Manuel will head the search and the public safety committee &045;&045; made up of members of the city council &045;&045; will also help in the process of finding a new chief.

Of particular interest in this search for a new police chief is the timetable under which it falls. The police chief and city clerk serve four-year terms that run concurrent with the terms of the city council and the mayor.

Caldwell has announced he will not seek re-election next year, and it is unclear how many of the current members of the council will run again. At least one member has indicated he may not seek re-election.

Regardless of what happens in the council and mayoral elections, Caldwell does not believe that should affect the process of hiring a new police chief.

While city officials begin an active search for Avery’s replacement, those who worked directly with the chief said the city will miss him.

Of the many aspects Manuel said he appreciates about Avery, he said making a transition into the acting chief’s job would not be difficult.

Though Caldwell said he will miss Avery’s dedication to the city, the mayor wants Avery to remain a part of Demopolis.

As for the specifics of retirement, Avery displayed his typical quiet style after Thursday evening’s city council meeting.