BREAKING: Mobile’s Public Safety Director Resigns, Chief Barber Promoted

James Barber is being promoted and will no longer serve as Chief of Police.

MOBILE, AL (WKRG) — Mobile Police Chief James Barber is being promoted and will no longer lead the city’s police force.

On Friday, Mayor Sandy Stimpson accepted the resignation of Rich Landolt as Public Safety Director for the city.  Landolt says he is leaving to pursue opportunities in the national security field.

Stimpson has announced that Barber, Mobile’s popular Chief of Police, will take over as the city’s Public Safety Director.

Additionally, Assistant Chief Lawrence Battiste has been named the new Mobile Police Chief.

Rich Landolt is resigning as Public Safety Director.

“Jim Barber and Lawrence Battiste have demonstrated outstanding leadership in the Mobile Police Department and I have full confidence in their abilities to move our city forward,” Stimpson said. “We hope that the City Council will approve their appointments as quickly as possible to ensure continuity.”

Landolt, a retired U.S. Navy Rear Admiral, was appointed to the position in July 2014. According to the release, Landolt will continue to serve as a board member of the Mobile County Emergency Management Agency and as a commissioner for the Mobile County Communications District.

“Rich has earned my gratitude and respect for his honorable service to the citizens of Mobile,” said Mayor Stimpson. “Under his leadership, we have modernized our Police and Fire fleets, improved pay for our first responders and hired some of the most diverse, qualified classes in city history. His contributions have moved us closer to our goal of becoming the safest, most business and family friendly city in America.”

Lawrence Battiste will be the new Mobile Police Chief.

As Public Safety Director, Barber will be responsible for the City’s Public Safety Division, consisting of the Police, Fire-Rescue Department, Safety and Performance Department, and Animal Control. He has served 29 years at the Mobile Police Department and is a recipient of the Officer of the Year award and the Distinguished Service Medallion.

“The fundamental purpose of government is the safety of the public,” said Chief Barber. “Failure to provide for this fundamental purpose is not an option. I am both humbled and honored to be entrusted with the responsibility of ensuring that this basic obligation is fulfilled.”

Chief Battiste has served as Assistant Police Chief since 2015 after serving as the former chief of police for the City of Prichard. He is a recipient of the Mayor’s Eagle Award, Deputy of the Year, Sheriff’s Commendation, Commander’s Citation, and the Combat Cross award.

“I am extremely honored to have been asked to serve as the next Chief of Police for the City of Mobile,” said Battiste. “I look forward to continuing the vision of Mayor Stimpson and Chief Barber in making Mobile the safest city in America with respect for everyone.”

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