The controversial retirement of Mobile Police Chief Paul Prine has sparked conversations about how the city's administration is organized.

Some want to know how public safety is managed in Mobile and if it's efficient.

The chief of police in Mobile is not the top authority over the police department. The city has an executive director of public safety who oversees the police and fire departments. Under the executive director is the newly formed position of deputy director of public safety.

Mayor Sandy Stimpson has chief of staff James Barber, who oversees many aspects of the city, including public safety.

Stimpson said the chain of command is essential in his administration and must be respected. He told FM Talk 106.5's Sean Sullivan Prine that Prine's lack of respect for authority started issues that led to his being placed on administrative leave.

SEE ALSO: 'We want you, we need you': Officers voice support for Mobile Police Chief Paul Prine

"Well, I've got a problem with that because there is a chain of command, and it goes to the executive director," Stimpson added. "Typically, the chief of staff is somewhere involved in there but at the end of the day, what he was saying was he didn't want to work with the chief of staff. He didn't want to work with the executive director. He didn't trust me. And so, you know, what are my options?"

Prine said he was forced into retirement because he blew the whistle on possible improprieties.

However, a former officer who worked in Mobile for over 20 years said he believes the public safety director position is pointless. The officer wanted to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation.

"I don't think it's needed," the officer told 1819 News. "It's absolutely unnecessary. The only thing it does is put another person between the chiefs and the mayor. So, essentially you have these layers of chiefs."

The officer said having someone else over chiefs can lead to communication breakdowns and be dangerous for the departments.

"I think, ultimately, it could be used as a weapon against the chiefs," he said. "And that's because you have this person who's dictating to them things or directions on how or what the vision may be and they need to be the ones to decide that. It creates more problems than it helps."

For many cities, like Oxford, the police chief is the public safety director.

Some cities in Alabama have public safety directors because they do not have a police department. For example, the City of Center Point contracts with the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office to have deputies but does not have its own police department. Instead, the city has a public safety director to communicate with deputies and ensure the city is getting adequate service.

Some cities, such as Auburn and Foley, have both a chief of police and a public safety director.

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