Wednesday, July 1, 2009
New Police Chief Sworn In
In a brief ceremony this morning at City Hall, Mr. Bill Press was sworn in as Chief of Fairhope Police by Circuit Judge James Reid who observed: " (In my experience) . . . Its unusual for any political body to come together unanimously on one candidate." Before the swearing in, Council President Quinn thanked Councilman Dan Stankoski, other Search Committee members , and City Personnel Director Rhonda White for "their hours/weeks/months of hard work (beginning last January)" soliciting/reviewing the 116 applications that were submitted. Quinn also thanked former interim Chief Terry Sanders (who was present for the ceremony) for "jumping in" with: "We threw you into the briar patch . . . without time to acclimate." Introducing Mr. Press -- Quinn called him "the cream of the crop" of all applicants. After being sworn in--Chief Press (after admitting he's "not a speech person") said he was "humbled" by the appointment and promised to listen to everyone and "work collectively as a team to take the organization to even higher heights." "My door will always be open," he concluded; but, "At the end of the day, the buck stops here." After being invited to speak by President Quinn, Mayor Kant said that the Police Dept. " has seen its ups and downs the last 4 years" but "now has a new leader to take it to the next level." "The Council and I don't always agree but hopefully we'll learn from our mistakes to make things better." "I'm just as guilty as anyone for saying things I shouldn't." "I can tell Chief Press has a heart and look forward to working with him," Kant concluded. A significant number of police officers--as well as fomer Chief Mike Commalander-- were present as well. Councilman Ford-- who along with the Mayor had previously only supported "internal" candidates for the job--did not attend.