Gadsden State Community College is one step closer to having its own police department now that the school has appointed a police chief.

Jay Freeman, a captain at Southside Police Department, will start the new job on June 26.

"From a young age, I've had a strong passion for community service," Freeman said. "I've always desired to make my community safer. I've always wanted to be part of something greater than myself. Law enforcement was the ideal way for me to uphold these values. Protecting and serving, promoting peace and ensuring fairness align with my core beliefs. I believe law enforcement is more than just enforcing the law. It's about community engagement, creating safe environments and helping those in need. My role is an opportunity to improve people's lives and contribute to a harmonious community."

Freeman started his law enforcement career in 2007 at the Rainbow City Police Department and the Ohatchee Police Department before moving to the Southside Police Department in 2009.

He said his priority will be to maintain safety for students, staff and local law enforcement on all campuses of Gadsden State.

Gadsden State Community College president Dr. Kathy Murphy said new police officers would have a heavy presence on campus. With Freeman's leadership, the idea is to increase the level of security.

"We are delighted to have Chief Freeman on our staff," she said. "We know he will do an amazing job in building Gadsden State's very first police department. We believe his past work experience and his passion for public safety and security make him the best person for this new role at Gadsden State."

Southside Police Department posted on Facebook about Freeman's departure.

"Although he will be greatly missed in our city, we want to congratulate our own Jay Freeman for becoming the first chief of police for Gadsden State," the post stated. "Jay has been a true leader in our community and to all of our officers over the years. We will certainly miss him here, but our loss is Gadsden's gain! We want to send all of our blessings with Jay and wish him the best of luck in his new endeavor!"

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