MOBILE — A spirited crowd of 293 people came to Municipal Park on Mobile's Zeigler Boulevard at noon Saturday to voice support for suspended police chief Paul Prine.

Prine told the crowd that he is "retiring" and there is "no way to reconcile" issues that led to his being put on administrative leave last week. Mayor Sandy Stimpson said that a review of policies and procedures indicated that the chief and the city administration had different views. Prine said he was forced into retirement.

"The same people that said I was the man for the job are the ones now trying to oust me," Prine said.

Prine did not throw much mud or make specific allegations of impropriety against the administration and never actually called Mayor Sandy Stimpson by name.

"I'm not a victim. Everything that has happened in the past two-and-a-half years is a result of decisions I have made."

Prine said the problems that led to his being placed on leave "started shortly after I was appointed."

"It's not about 'One Mobile.' It's about a lust for power." 

"One Mobile" is the slogan of the Stimpson administration.

Prine used scripture somewhat in his 22-minute talk, citing II Corinthians 13.

"I'll never take an opportunity to speak to a group without giving my personal testimony."

"We have to first examine ourselves and do right by God. That's who I report to."

It has not always been that way. Prine said when he was 19, he had walked out on God. That lasted until age 30. He was shot three times in the back, lost his left kidney, and almost died.

"Even though I had not been following Him, I called on Jesus."

Now, Prine is 53.

"I wouldn't have made the office of Chief if it weren't for Him," he said, pointing to the skies.

"The administration failed to understand that what they thought they were getting was not what they got."

"I questioned myself, why the Lord gave me that job."

"Evil prevails when good people sit back in the shadows. This is a spiritual battle."

At this point, Prine visibly teared up and hesitated before continuing the speech.

"Another church, not my own, called me in to pray over me last year. They prophesied that this day was coming. They said it was part of the plan of God that I would be vindicated."

"When I was appointed two and a half years ago, Mobile was at an all-time high in crime. The police department had a poor rate of attrition. Now, we have reduced crime, and attrition is at a 35-year low."

"Our responsibility is to God and not to man."

"I have no choice but to retire. There is no way to reconcile. I will announce a timetable for my retirement. I think I will go sell hammers at Lowe's."

"This is not about me. There will be a new chief, and we should support him."

Someone in the crowd shouted, "If he's good." Prine responded, "That will be up to you."

"I'm not calling for anybody to be voted out."

Several in the crowd shouted, "We are." Or "I am." Or, “Prine for Mayor.”

Prine responded, "He ain't called me to be Mayor."

He closed by saying, "We are all flawed and need a Savior. God is in charge. He will expose."

There were reportedly some law enforcement in the crowd, but they were careful not to identify themselves.

Jim' Zig' Zeigler writes about Alabama's people, places, events, groups and prominent deaths. He is a former Alabama Public Service Commissioner and State Auditor. You can reach him for comments at

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