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Reese eager to start new job

The Demopolis City Council and its personnel committee put a lot of hard work into its search for a permanent police chief, something the city did not have since June 2008.

The committee began with nine candidates, then whittled that number down to seven for the first round of interviews. That number was reduced to four candidates, who gave a second round of interviews to the council’s members who did not serve on the personnel committee.

On Thursday, the committee were unanimous in recommending Tommie Reese to the post, and the council voted unanimously to offer Reese the position.

A native of Demopolis, Reese is the chief deputy with the Marengo County Sheriff’s Department. He has held that rank since 1994, after joining the department in 1991. He was a patrolman with the Demopolis Police Department from 1987 to 1990.

“I’m eager to get some things done with the department and the officers,” he said in an interview on Friday. “Demopolis is my home; I pretty much know everybody in the city, so I’m coming back home to serve.”

Reese’s accomplishments include an FBI citation in 2004, the 2008 law enforcement Medal of Distinction, the 2006 Red Cross Circle of Heroes Award and the 2008 Alabama Democratic Conference Lifetime Achievement Award.

Reese has taken part in the FBI’s domestic and international terrorism training and with the U.S. Department of Justice for Internet child predator training. Other training sessions that he has taken part in involve law enforcement management, victim’s rights, forensic science, date rape, the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center’s community policing session, court security and asset seizure.

“My biggest thing I want to focus on right now is service to the people,” he said. “Then, I plan to try some department reorganization. I plan to meet with all of the supervisors and do some brainstorming — how to make the department better. They are already there — they have the inside scoop — so I definitely want to utilize the supervisors in place as well as the other employees.”

Reese said he plans to get patrol officers involved with crime scene investigations. He hopes to have a full-time person in charge of training so officer could be trained on-site, perhaps hosting training sessions for other police departments’ personnel.

Reese has almost 22 years of law enforcement experience, beginning with the Demopolis Police Department in 1987. Over the years, he has served as the lead investigator on four murder cases in 2008 and with the Little double-murder case of 2003 along with a number of other robberies, rapes and other criminal investigations.

“I used to watch ‘Hill Street Blues’ a lot,” he said. “That’s when I knew I wanted to be in law enforcement. I was a Junior Police officer in Demopolis under Bobby Meigs when he was the assistant chief with that program.

“I’m looking into bringing the Explorer post back for young kids, to get them back involved with law enforcement. That’s how I got start into law enforcement. I also hope to be able to have a reserve program, where a person is retired or a civilian who wanted to help out the police department can do so on a voluntary basis. That would free up some manpower within the paid force. We’re trying to do more with less.”

The Demopolis City Council should have Reese’s official response before its next meeting on Thursday, Feb. 5. Since Reese has said he would accept the council’s offer, at that meeting, the council would likely name Reese as the next police chief for Demopolis.