Friday, February 1, 2013

Police Chief Candidates Interviewed

Fairhope, Alabama

The city council held interviews Thursday for the four finalists for Chief of Police. Mayor Kant also attended. The same questions were asked of each. Everyone said they favored community policing techniques and the use of inmate (city jail) labor  -- some with caveats.

1. Joe Bettner said his vision for the police department is to make it the "best not only in Alabama, but America." He said the best way to obtain that goal is through leadership, communication and keeping up with the latest technologies. He said public participation is important and intended an open door policy for citizens and officers: "We've got to have citizen involvement."

Currently a Mobile County narcotics agent, Bettner said he thought "narcotics are the genesis for just about every crime out there;" and worried about the recent uptick in property crime here. "We do have crime in Fairhope."

Smart Policing and Intelligence-led policing were ideas he would like to see implemented here as well.

Bettner said whatever happened in the past in the Fairhope P. D. is "water under the bridge" and going forward "we will operate as a team."

He said returning to the policy of providing funeral escorts would be his priority as well.

Bettner called the position his "dream job ... my hometown ... the last stop in a long law enforcement career."

He currently resides within the police jurisdiction.

2. Stan Stabler said he wanted to affiliate more with other agencies and county resources -- and be more interactive with the community. He called community policing a "better fit" for Fairhope. He thought the number of visitors, manpower and equipment issues were concerns of small towns like Fairhope.

Stabler, a former Daphne PD officer and currently an ABI agent, said his experience working for many different agencies was a plus: "Experience is the best teacher;" and it was important for officers to walk the sidewalks and build relationships with businesses and citizens. He described his as a "visionary, coaching style of leadership."

He said unity in the department would be a priority: "What's happened in the past is the past ... a new slate. The chief is the quarterback of the team."

He said he would seek "fairness throughout the department" and to build relationships with every officer; and an "open door policy for anyone who wanted to talk to me."

Stabler said this would be his "last stepping stone" if appointed and wanted to work another 10 - 15 years.

Stabler said he grew up in Fairhope and currently resides in Daphne -- but is willing to relocate here if he is chosen.

3. Joe Petties said he wanted to increase patrols even more by going to 6 man shifts, cut down on overtime and "bridge the gap between the mayor's office, city council and community." He said a good leader must also have been a good follower and have honor, ethics and integrity.

Petties said it would be important to groom somebody within the department to take over (as chief) in 4 years, "to have somebody ready to take over." He said he planned to be chief for four more years but doubted eight: "... not stay and stay ... hold somebody else up."

He favors community policing: "We work for all the people ... have to get out and meet the people" --and crime suppression teams to fight illegal drugs.

Lack of manpower and storage space for evidence at the jail were challenges he said.

Petties said his  term as interim chief has already "put everybody on the same page ... and they respect me now" -- after moving some people around.

Petties: "If someone new comes in ... (have to) start all over ... could disrupt things ... ."

Petties lives within the police jurisdiction.

4. Mike Reynolds envisioned community centered policing, "around people ... like used to happen in older days." He said it was important to get to know the people and what's going on in their lives and to seek their input for the department -- "what direction to go in."

He said little things are important when interacting with the public -- like having officers wave at citizens, helping seniors with garbage cans: "to serve the public goes beyond just law enforcement."

The biggest challenge for small towns is juvenile crime: "All criminals started somewhere."

Focusing on persons selling them and gathering intelligence were important to fight illegal drugs, he said.

Partnering with other cities and counties were good ways to save money and be" good stewards of people's money."

He said setting an example was important for leaders to "show them how you want them to perform."

If selected, Reynolds said it would be important not to come in "with guns blazing and make too many changes right off the bat. Its up to the chief to earn the respect from officers ... listen to officers."

Reynolds said his time with the Mobile County Sheriff's Dept. and as Chief of Police in Chickasaw (currently) help uniquely qualify him for this job and he would definitely consider moving here if selected.

Reynolds said he expected he would "end his career here" -- retire here -- if chosen.



Anonymous said...


Dick said...

Joe Petties has my vote...The other answers .....Well they seem like B.S..

Anonymous said...

Bring on the yes man. Joe should get the job......but he has no chance.

Anonymous said...

Reynolds seems like the most qualified ... on paper anyway. Hope they will pick the best one , not just the most popular politically. Thats the danger of having politicians do the selection

Anonymous said...

I doubt these were even the best four who applied.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

It will be politics as usual. As said above bring on the yes man. Joe is the best man for the job.

Anonymous said...

Mike and Stan are nobody's fool or yes men. Don't know about the others though. Mike said he'd move here if picked ... wife wants to retire here.

Anonymous said...

Seems like only one person has experience as a police chief. Being a chief is far different from being a supervisor in the federal government or a corporal with ABI. I vote with experience. Reynolds has been a chief for some time and a capt with MCSO. Pettus has been running the department since Press left. They seem to be the appropriate candidates.