Two Big MPD Promotions, Fire Chief Still Unfilled

Mobile, AL (WKRG)

Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson wants to promote two Mobile Police chiefs to bigger roles in public safety. Richard Landolt announced his resignation as Public Safety Director last week. Police Chief James Barber is the pick for Public Safety Director and Assistant Chief Lawrence Battiste is the pick for police chief. Lawrence Battiste says he believes the MPD is moving in the right direction.

“Make sure that I continue those efforts that have already been put in place and to grow them in some ways,” said Battiste.  Much of the talk Monday morning centered around the fire department. Mobile’s had no official fire chief since Mayor Stimpson came into office. The mayor continues to say it’s a top priority with no time table.

“I think it’s important that we go ahead and fill that position,” said Stimpson.  Former Public Safety Director Richard Landolt’s only public controversy was when he said this in 2014.

“You don’t want a fire truck going into a community with all white firefighters on it, that doesn’t reflect the community,” said Landolt in 2014.  Mobile’s mayor says they’ve made strides in recruiting more diversity in public safety.

“I think it’s very important that our fire rescue and police department look like the community or a reflection of the community,” said Stimpson.  Questions over the need for a new central fire station also linger.  Landolt proposed the idea early in his tenure but nothing materialized yet.  I asked Barber about it this morning who said it was too early to make a call on it.

“Wo give me some time to talk to representatives, firefighters and find out what they need to carry out their jobs well,” said James Barber.  The nominees need approval from the Mobile City Council.  The Mayor didn’t say how much each of his nominees would be making in salary. The previous police chief and public safety director both made in excess of 100-thousand dollars a year.

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