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Embattled Mobile Police Chief receives offer to keep a job with the city

City of Mobile

There is reportedly an option for Mobile Police Chief Paul Prine to keep a job with the city, according to WPMI, but that offer expires at noon on Friday, April 26. The news outlet reports City Attorney Ricardo Woods made the announcement. Prine has served the community for nearly three decades.

The news comes after Mayor Sandy Stimpson requested city council members to adopt an ordinance on Tuesday, April 23 to remove Prine from his position. This after what Stimpson described as "irreconcilable differences with Prine."

“He would remain employed in a consulting capacity to assist us with litigation transition until the end of the mayor’s term, and provided the mayor is reelected, he would still be there until he would retire,“ Woods told WPMI regarding Tuesday's offer.

This comes on the heels of the mayor and city leaders offering Prine a retirement option with a severance package, which was reportedly in line with his current salary. Stimpson said Prine declined to answer and began packing up his office and became absent from his duties. No word yet on when Prine will review or possibly accept the current offer.

The move to put Prime on administrative leave, along with Tuesday's updated offer, comes after the city asked former U.S. Attorney Kenyen Brown to conduct a report on the Mobile Police Department. Brown was asked for the third-party review of policies, procedures and training within the department after concerns were raised from the community about police and Prine.

Mayor Sandy Stimpson said in a press release on April 10 that Brown's preliminary findings, coupled with the "communications breakdown Prine had with other public safety officials," prompted him to ask Prine to step down. The mayor announced in the same statement that Prine had been placed on administrative leave.

Stimpson said, in a preliminary briefing of the findings, it was shown that practice within the department are not matching up with policies, procedures and training. In the course of their investigation, it came to light that Prine made inappropriate statements early in his tenure, according to the mayor. Stimpson also said investigators relayed concerns around Prine’s authoritarian leadership style, saying he openly advised that he uses fear in his management approach

The following statement was issued from Mayor Stimpson regarding Resolution #60-373 ahead of the Mobile City Council’s agenda for Tuesday, April 23:

"Over the last days, we have all listened to allegations concerning city officials and their families, false accusations of impropriety and conspiracy theories. I've watched the negative impact this has had on our community long enough. It is time for the situation to be resolved.

At Tuesday's Mobile City Council meeting, we will formally ask council members to resolve this issue. Despite every effort to avoid this path of submitting a resolution to the City Council, it seems to be the only option. Under the Zoghby Act that established Mobile's current city government, the police chief is one of several positions that can only be appointed or removed with a vote from five city council members. Despite taking this action, we are still hopeful to reach a more amicable resolution.

Most importantly, these recent events have drastically impacted the morale of the Mobile Police Department and painted the City of Mobile in a negative light. Our officers are among the best in the country. These men and women put their lives on the line to protect this community every day, and they deserve clear leadership without continued distractions. As mayor, my first responsibility is public safety, and it is a responsibility that I take very seriously.

In a meeting with Council President CJ Small, I agreed some of the recent allegations need to be investigated to bring forward the truth and restore public trust. If they choose to move forward with a third-party investigation, we will do everything to support those efforts. However, for our community to move forward, I would strongly urge the council to consider Resolution #60-373 separately and first."

According to the Mobile Police Department's website, Prine has more than 26 years of law enforcement experience. He started his career with the Chickasaw Police Department in 1995. He was accepted into the Mobile Police Academy in 1997 whereby he graduated at the top of his class earning the Academic Award, The Chief’s Overall Excellence Award, and was nominated by his peers to be the class president.

In October 2001, he responded to a domestic call where he was shot multiple times in the line of duty. He sustained life-threatening injuries. After returning to duty, he subsequently earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration and received his graduate degree in Criminal Justice.

Baillee Majors is the Morning Edition host and a reporter at Alabama Public Radio.
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