David Jernigan appointed as Madison police chief

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MADISON, Ala. -- The Madison City Council has appointed David Jernigan as its next police chief.  The city council voted unanimously 7-0 during its meeting Monday night.

"It felt really good. I'm excited. I'm leaving a good department, I'm leaving with mixed emotions," said Jernigan, "but I know there is a lot to do in Madison."

Jernigan has served in law enforcement for 37 years, most recently with the Madison County Sheriff's Office as chief deputy.  He has lived in the Madison area since 1995.

Council president Tommy Overcash said that was part of Jernigan's appeal.

"As we continued our debate, it really was," he said. "They all had great resumes, great references, but being local we could see his body of work."

Jernigan will start July 3.  He will be sworn into the position at the next council meeting following his start date. The City Council approved his salary Monday, set at $110,000 per year.

But Jernigan does not need to wait for his start date to begin training.

"Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday of this week I'm going to Jacksonville State for a chief's conference," he noted. "It's offered once a year. It's timely."

He added, "I have four, five, six manuals I've been going through too."

City leaders say they are looking forward to getting him in place and are thankful the process has worked so well. Overcash said it will be a relief to get this job filled, and finish up the rest of the work to get the city's key players back to full staffing.

"We have the city attorney to finish up with, and we brought on a communications specialist," he noted. "All these have taken a tremendous amount of time. HR, the departments, the mayor, my time, council's time. We'll have a little extra time to concentrate on economic development and growth plans and things like that."

Jernigan knows where he wants to start within the department on July 3.

"An important of what we do is our human capital," he said of the officers. "I will sit down and find out why they're here, why are they working or the police department. Some ideas of things they would like to see changed. Find out what the climate is, what the culture is, listen and get some feedback."