HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — On Thursday, the Huntsville City Council voted to postpone a discussion and vote to confirm Kirk Giles as the new police chief.
The decision to postpone was brought to the table by Councilmember Devyn Keith, who said he was concerned because a member of the council, Jennie Robinson, was absent from the meeting.
Keith said it was important for everyone to be a part of the discussion.
“It would be wrong for me to state those things, from the floor at this time, absent of an individual with such the magnitude of the decisions,” Keith stated at the meeting.
Councilmember Bill Kling agreed with the decision to postpone.
“We just want to make sure that an objective decision is made based on his [Giles] merit as a candidate,” Kling said. “Maybe some questions will be asked of the mayor, ‘Why did you choose this person?’, ‘Did you think about going outside the department?'”
Giles has spent 45 years with the Huntsville Police Department, according to a statement from the City. Most of the recent Chiefs were also internal hires, so Giles would follow that trend.
Former Huntsville Police Chief Rex Reynolds gave his stamp of approval to Giles.
“He’s tried and proven as they say,” Reynolds said. “He’s a cop’s cop, he’s been there on the ground.”
He said speaking from experience, chiefs typically face challenges when new on the job. He said morale and staffing are usually two of the main challenges and Giles will likely also face them.
“He’s just going to have to focus in recruiting, and you’ve got to be able to retain this workforce, you’ve got to train them, you’ve got to keep up on that in-service, training things like that,” Reynolds continued.
The Huntsville City Council is set to vote on Giles’ appointment on December 1. That same resolution about department heads also pertains to the director of traffic engineering and the director of cemeteries.