State Rep. Reed Ingram (R-Pike Road) has officially pre-filed a bill for the 2025 legislative session that would allow the governor or attorney general (AG) to appoint an interim police chief in municipalities where crime has gone out of control.

Reed announced his plans to file the bill earlier this month after he clashed with Montgomery's leadership over the city's perceived lack of attentiveness to the escalating crime.

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Ingram's bill, House Bill 14 (HB14), would permit the AG or governor, in consultation with one another, to appoint an interim police chief to superintend any municipal police department if they determine that a particular and ongoing threat to public safety exists within a municipality.

Before appointing an interim chief, they must do the following:

  • Review relevant federal, state and local crime statistics.

  • Determine that the number of law enforcement officers employed by the municipality's police department is 30% less than the average number of law enforcement officers employed by that police department for the preceding 10 years.

  • Consult with the district attorney, county sheriff and victims of crimes committed within the municipality.

The interim chief would report to the governor and AG, not the mayor or city council of their municipality. However, the interim chief would be required to provide semi-monthly reports to the mayor and city council. The county sheriff could serve as an interim chief, but the state would pay any additional salary.

Municipalities that refuse to comply with the law would forfeit any state funds, grants or appropriations.

“The governor's office has reviewed the bill, and they said to go ahead and file it,” Ingram told 1819 News. “It was my idea but most of the guts of the bill came from the AG’s office. They’re on board, and it’s their language.”

Ingram said he saw the bill as a tool to help struggling municipalities and hoped mayors would welcome the legislation instead of resisting it.

“I would hope that the mayors embrace this," he continued. “This is just another tool to help them to have coordination and collaboration with the governor and AG’s office to give them more help. Because if they can’t recruit, there’s a problem."

He continued, “As important as it is, it’s life or death for some of these citizens. So I would hope that most of these mayors would not have a chip on their shoulder and embrace this and be able to have a tool in their toolbox to be able to lean on the state and say, “Hey. We need help.’  It would not cost these municipalities anything, and I would hope they would not have a big head on them and say they got this when crime is out of control because it’s a matter of life and death. It’s a matter of life and death. It’s a matter of public safety, and public safety, as a lawmaker, I think should be everybody’s priority.”

Montgomery has recently had issues with police staffing and maintaining a police chief. After he was hired in March 2022, then-Police Chief Darryl Albert resigned last April amidst sexual harassment and other allegations. The city is still looking for a full-time chief while the interim chief handles the job.

“Most mayors are good administrators but have never been in law enforcement,” Reed said.  So, hiring somebody and interviewing somebody, sometimes you can’t get it right, as we’ve seen in these municipalities and that have had three or four chiefs in the last five years. Sometimes, it’s not always what you think when you’re hiring somebody, and that’s true in any business."

“If you look at all crime, if it’s a felon, they’re going to our state prisons," he continued. "The city never pays another dime. They never have any more involvement in this person at all until they get out of jail and commit another crime. Once this crime is committed and they’re locked in the county jail, then they don’t even look in the rearview mirror. They never have a penny of cost for the crime that is committed under their watch. So we pay all the medical, we pay to house them, we pay the parole, we pay everything. If it’s a death penalty, we pay the death penalty. The city never pays a dime. And we’re not asking them to pay a dime. We’re just asking them to be a partner in this process.”

“In every city, we’ve got a problem with crime. And some of the municipalities are doing a better job than others," Ingram added. "The mayor in Selma is asking for help. The mayor of Birmingham has asked the state for help. And this is just a way for us to legally get involved and help them. This is not putting our foot on their throat and making them do anything. This is just a process because we can’t go in and take it over, not unless the governor calls in the National Guard. Now, this bill will open up the door where we can be able to partner with them.”

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