• 68°

Three introduced as candidates for DPD police chief

Council could vote for new police chief at Feb. 7 meeting

Three candidates for the chief of police position with the City of Demopolis were introduced during a council meeting last week.

The city is seeking a new police chief to fill the seat after Tommie Reese resigned to take a position with the Alabama Attorney General’s office. Since that time, Lt. Rex Flowers has been serving as interim police chief and is among the three finalists for the position. The other two candidates are Leslie Hines and Jeffery Spraggins.

While Reese had served as the city’s public safety director, Mayor John Laney said the position to be filled will be that of police chief and that the process has begun to hire a permanent fire chief.

The three finalists for the position was determined by  the Alabama Association of Chiefs of Police.

“The pre-selection process was made up of police chiefs and they provided us with their top three candidates. They did an outstanding job and have made our decision very difficult,” Laney said.

Lt. Rex Flowers has served with the Demopolis Police Department for 25 years. He said that while he sees no need for major overhauls to the department, he said being understaffed sometimes left the department being “reactive instead of proactive.” He added that an increase of staff would allow for permanent placement of School Resource Officers at each of the Demopolis campuses.

Leslie Hines has been in law enforcement for 22 years, including nine years with the Demopolis Police Department. If selected as police chief, Hines said he would maintain and expand community outreach programs as well as officer wellness and mentoring programs. Hines is currently an officer with the 17th Judicial Task Force.

Jeffery Spraggins is a supervisor with the Tuscaloosa Police Department and has been a police officer for 23 years. He also has served 27 years in the military and holds a master’s degree in criminal justice. He included community outreach programs as a priority if selected, as well as hiring and retaining quality employees.

Laney said the council is scheduled to vote for the new police chief at its next meeting on Feb. 7.

Other items addressed by the council included the following.

• The council voted unanimously to spend $15,650 to improve drainage in the area of Pettus Street and Hwy. 80. Projects Manager Mike Baker said the work will help move storm water away from, and collecting around, buildings.

• The council approved as an emergency expenditure for the purchase of a new heating and air unit for the Demopolis Public Library.  A low bid of $19,900 from Rice Heating and Air was approved.

• Building Inspector Julius Rembert said he and the city attorney continue working on a draft document to promote the concept of ‘being a good neighbor,’ as it relates to maintaining property. He also said work is ongoing for a code enforcement website.

• Property near Airport Industrial Park was approved for annexation. The 40-acre parcel is owned by the city. Laney said the annexation would “allow the city to benefit from future development.”

Councilman Bill Meador voted against the annexation, stating he would like more time to review the information. He had asked that the council return in a week to vote in a called meeting.

A motion to move forward with the annexation was approved 4-1.

The council meeting ended following an executive session to discuss “good name and character.”

(This article originally appeared in the Wednesday, January 23 issue of the Demopolis Times.)