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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — The Huntsville City Council has approved appointing Kirk Giles as the next Huntsville Police Chief.

The City Council voted to approve Giles appointment on a vote of 3-0 with City Council President John Meredith and Councilman Devyn Keith abstaining from the vote.

Mayor Tommy Battle had announced his plan to appoint Giles, who has been interim chief since March 4, on Nov 15. However, the city council voted to postpone any discussion of the topic at its meeting on Nov. 18 because Councilwoman Jennie Robinson was not present at the meeting.

Meredith did, however, express disappointment that the choice of Giles was already publicly confirmed before Thursday’s council meeting.

Giles is a veteran officer with 45 years of experience with the Huntsville Police Department (HPD). He started with the department as a patrol officer and moved up the ranks to serve as deputy chief and executive officer before his appointment as interim chief.

“I am honored to continue to serve and protect our City in this role,” Giles said in a statement about his appointment by the mayor. “I am grateful to Mayor Battle, the Administration and our City Council for allowing me to lead and work with the exemplary men and women of the Huntsville Police Department.”

In his initial statement announcing his plan to appoint Giles, Battle said Giles brings vast knowledge and experience to the post.

“His experience and steady leadership will ensure our police department is progressive and resilient and will grow even stronger relationships with our partners and community,” the mayor said.

Keith, noting that 10 people took to the lectern to speak on behalf of Giles, said that if that amount of folks were needed to support his appointment, then the process needs to change.

The councilman also expressed his concern about the lack of diversity in the Huntsville police department staff. Giles told News 19 that it is important to make sure that the department represents all communities.

“We do recruitment events in our military and as well as our historically black colleges and universities and local universities,” said Giles. “Of course, our social media campaign is very important in that respect. So yes, it’s important for us to be represented in that community. We want to be a reflection of the community that we serve.” 

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During the city council meeting on Nov 18, former HPD Chief Rex Reynolds also spoke in support of Giles’ appointment.

“He’s tried and proven as they say,” Reynolds said. “He’s a cop’s cop, he’s been there on the ground.”