New top man

Published 11:28 pm Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The story of newly-hired Tuscaloosa police chief Steve Anderson is a blend of two stories: “Hometown boy does good” mixed in with a tale of working one’s way to the top.

It was announced by Tuscaloosa mayor Walt Maddox on Aug. 6 that Anderson would take the reins from current police chief Ken Swindle, who is retiring on Sept. 30 after 18 years as head of the Tuscaloosa police force.

Anderson, a native of Uniontown, was hired by TPD very soon after he graduated from Alabama in December 1993 with a degree in criminal justice. He moved up to the homicide division in 1996, then was promoted to sergeant in the patrol division in 2000. In January 2003, he was assigned to the internal affairs division, and was promoted to lieutenant in 2005. He was promoted to captain in 2007, a position he will hold until he becomes police chief on Oct. 1.

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Anderson’s life began in Uniontown, where he graduated from R.C. Hatch High School in 1989.

“I didn’t grow up with dreams of public service,” he said. “I started out at Alabama in the business school, wanting to get a marketing degree. After the first year, I decided to go into law enforcement, and it kind of took off from there.”

It takes a lot of encouragement and support from other people to shape a civic leader, and Anderson is quick to praise the people who helped him get where he his.

“My biggest influence, of course, were my parents, Gabriel and Eldora Anderson,” he said. “They had a lot to do with shaping me. People like my teachers in high school and my principal played a large part in my growth and development.”

His mother, Eldora Anderson, is the probate judge of Perry County, and he has a Marengo County tie, as his uncle, Charles Jones Sr., serves on the Demopolis City Council.

His friends and family members have remained in contact with Anderson, as evidenced by the well-wishes he received after earning the promotion.

“The response from the community have been encouraging and unexpected,” Anderson said. “I didn’t realize it would be such a news story and have such an impact on other people, but I’m pleased to know that they are keeping up with me in Perry County.”

Steve Anderson is a prime example that no matter where you are from — the big city or the small town — you can not only reach your goals, but you can also succeed beyond them.