A group of high-ranking Mobile Police officers — including a deputy chief — say they are willing to stick their necks out politically in order to bring what they see as needed change for the city and the department.
Roughly 30 MPD officers, ranking from deputy chief all the way to patrolmen said they met with mayoral candidate Sandy Stimpson Sunday and have decided to schedule a support rally for him at the Winn-Dixie Shopping Center at Grelot and Hillcrest Roads at 6 p.m. Wednesday.
Deputy Chief Joseph Kennedy — speaking on behalf of the Mobile County Law Enforcement Association and not in his departmental capacity — said it is something the officers feel so strongly about they are willing to publicly campaign against a sitting mayor. The association publicly endorsed Stimpson in late July.
Kennedy said the move is significant, as it is the first time a group of command level Mobile Police Officers have openly campaigned against a sitting mayor and, by extension, his police chief. He said the officers involved feel the city is at a major crossroads and is in need of new leadership in the mayor’s office.
Asked if it wasn’t somewhat risky for officers to openly advocate against their boss, Kennedy admitted many are nervous about what might happen if Jones does win the election. Still, he said, they all believe a change in leadership is too important to worry about their own job security.
The group says they are using their off time to recruit more officers to their cause and that their families have retained legal support to ensure all laws and city policies are followed during the rally. The officers say they intend to wear black t-shirts saying “police” with no reference to MPD.
MPD regulations forbid officers from engaging in political activities while on duty or in uniform, or using city property. That regulation was recently violated when two captains were ordered to appear in a commercial for Mayor Sam Jones’ reelection. Police legal counsel Wanda Rahman said the officers were ordered by someone in city hall, not within the department, and that it was a violation of department regulations. Jones’ campaign has continued to air the commercials.
Kennedy encouraged those who support their effort to join them at the rally.
Updated at 1:49 p.m. Aug. 14 to correct Kennedy’s affiliation. It is with the Mobile County Law Enforcement Association.