Alabama police chief quits after just one year www.privateofficer.com
Battiste said he was leaving to become the chief probation officer at the Strickland Youth Center in Mobile.
Battiste, who came to Prichard after working 17 years at the Mobile County Sheriff’s Office, said he was not asked to leave the department.
He also said the fact that the city filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection about two weeks ago did not impact his decision.
“The city bankruptcy is not something that prompted me to make this move,” Battiste said. “It’s just a tremendous opportunity to go and be a part of the program.”
In a letter dated today but delivered to Mayor Ron Davis and City Council members Thursday, the chief said that his resignation would take effect Dec. 13.
“I have spent much time praying for guidance in this decision,” Battiste wrote in the letter.
After former Chief Sammie Brown left in early 2005, Davis, a former Mobile County sheriff’s deputy who knew Battiste through the Sheriff’s Office, asked the City Council to select Battiste as the city’s chief.
At the Sheriff’s Office, Battiste became the first black officer to be promoted to the rank of lieutenant, and he was named Deputy of the Year in 2003.
Former Assistant Chief Yvonne Baldwin served as acting chief for about five months before Battiste was hired.
Last year, Baldwin won a gender discrimination lawsuit in which she claimed the city offered her the chief’s job under less-favorable terms than her predecessor.
The city has yet to pay the judgment, and included the more than $300,000 owed to her on a list of creditors in a recent motion in the bankruptcy petition.
Battiste signed a $66,000-a-year contract with the city in Oct. 2005.
Davis could not be reached for comment Thursday.
Marvin Whitfield, who ran much of the department’s day-to-day operations until he left earlier this year, said that the city will be hard-pressed to find someone who can fully replace what Battiste brought to the table.
“The city is losing a great steward in law enforcement and relating to the community,” he said. “I’m hoping and praying that they will be able to find someone who can step in, but it’s going to be hard.”
Jimmie Gardner currently serves as assistant chief.
Pat Mitchell, the mayor’s chief of staff, who formerly served as a police administrator, said Battiste’s replacement had not been selected.
When asked whether he would take over, Mitchell replied, “Perhaps. But I will tell you this, everything will be flowing smoothly.”