Madison City Council interviews final four police chief candidates

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MADISON, Ala. – The Madison Police Department is waiting to see who will be chosen as their new police chief. The final four candidates for the role were interviewed by City Council Saturday morning. The session was open to the public.

The city has been working to hire a new chief since January.

“We received over 60 applicants, narrowed it down to these final four. They’ll get 14 questions, each from the city council,” Madison Mayor Paul Finley said.

One of those four candidates is Acting Police Chief and 24-year vet at MPD, Major John Stringer.

“Madison Police Department’s my home. This is my family and I know what wonderful things we can do and what we’re poised to do and I’m prepared to lead us on to the next step,” Stringer said.

Three of the four candidates, including Stringer, said their top priority if selected would be to work on recruitment and retention of new police officers.

Candidate Johnny Gandy has 34 years of law enforcement experience with a Virginia Beach police department. He said years ago it was similar to Madison now in the way of rapid growth.

He said it is important to keep staff balanced with the booming population.

“Ensuring that the police department grows as the city grows. To be able to meet those service demands,” Grady said.

The department currently has 13 openings. Candidate and retired DEA agent Clay Morris thinks creating a culture the younger generations want to be a part of will help fill those spots.

“The department is short-staffed right now. This is too good of a department and a community to not have a line of applicants waiting for us out the door,” Morris said.

Alternatively, candidate Jeff Walls didn’t focus on recruitment, saying his first move would be making the department more open to the community; a similar plan to what he did during his decade-long tenure at the New Orleans Police Department.

“I’d love to see Madison become a model police department for other agencies and I think that’s quite a possibility that’s there. I’d like to engage the community more in different things,” Walls said.

Mayor Finley said the decision is likely to made on who the next chief will be in the next two weeks.

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