Here are the candidates Madison leaders are considering for their new police chief


MADISON, Ala. — Madison city leaders will interview four candidates next month to determine who will be the city’s next police chief.

Current acting chief John Stringer is one of the candidates who will be interviewed May 8 at City Hall and is the only candidate currently living in North Alabama.

The other candidates are Virginia Beach Police Capt. Johnny Gandy, New Orleans Police Commander Jeffrey Walls and Clay Morris, who worked in the Drug Enforcement Administration until September last year.

The city interviews will begin at 8 a.m. May 8 and are open to the public, but doors will be closed during the interviews to avoid distraction, according to the city. People may only enter and exit at the beginning or end of each interview, and public questions will not be permitted.

Stringer will be the first scheduled interview at 8 a.m. Morris will interview at 9:15 a.m., followed by Walls at 10:30 a.m. and Gandy at 11:45 a.m.

John Stringer

Stringer has been with the Madison Police Department since 1997 and has worked as acting chief since David Jernigan retired in January. Prior to assuming the chief’s responsibilities, Jernigan was a major and became assistant chief of the department in October 2019.

Starting out as a patrol officer, Jernigan has worked as an investigator and captain of Special Operations and established a Crisis Intervention Team for the department, which works to help citizens experiencing mental health crises.

Stringer graduated from UAH with a psychology degree and also has a master’s degree in public administration from Columbia Southern.

Johnny Gandy (City of Virginia Beach photo)

Gandy has been with the Virginia Beach Police Department since 1987. He became an acting detective in 1991 and a regular detective in 1996. He was promoted to captain in 2018.

Gandy’s accomplishments include establishing a Crisis Intervention Team for his department and tailoring the department’s Domestic Violence Unit to deal with an epidemic of domestic violence incidents involving military families stationed at local Navy bases.

Gandy has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Saint Leo University and a master’s in criminal justice from Troy University.

Clay Morris

Morris served with the DEA from September 1995 until September 2020 and worked as an assistant special agent in charge, deputy director, acting chief and acting diversion program manager in the DEA’s Birmingham District Office and Atlanta Field Division. He had oversight of Birmingham and resident offices for Huntsville, Montgomery, Mobile and the Dothan Post of Duty. Prior to that, he worked as a deputy sheriff and deputy marshall in Louisiana.

Morris’s achievements include establishing a project to gather intelligence and information on high value targets, which led to the location and arrest of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman and other targets designated by the U.S. government.

Morris has a bachelor’s degree in general studies from the University of New Orleans and a master’s in criminal justice from Northeast Louisiana University.

Jeffrey Walls

Walls has served as a commander in the New Orleans Police Department for 10 years and currently supervises the 2nd District. He has been with the department since he was hired as a patrol officer in 1997, and has also worked as a detective and a sergeant in the homicide division.

Walls’s accomplishments include being involved with the department’s Community Advisory Board and managing large-scale events like the Super Bowl.

Walls has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Loyola University and a master’s in homeland security and emergency management from Tulane University.

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