Florala chief likely ousted

Published 1:03 am Saturday, October 22, 2016

Bedsole said Holley advised him; Entire force to walk

The current Florala Police Chief said Friday he was notified by the mayor-elect that he would not be reappointed.

Sonny Bedsole

Sonny Bedsole

Chief Sonny Bedsole said that Terry Holley and he met Thursday.

Bedsole said that Holley had advised him he wanted the police department to go a different direction.

“He said I had done an excellent job,” Bedsole said. “But that he just wanted to department to go in a different direction.”

Bedsole said the Holley is just one vote on the appointment, but that it will likely be a 3-3 vote.

Terry Holley

Terry Holley

“I have not resigned and will not,” Bedsole said. “There are five council members who vote on the appointment besides the mayor. If I am not reappointed, then so be it; I don’t quit.”

Bedsole said that Holley asked if he was going to resign.

“I told him I’m not a quitter,” he said. “I’ll be there until the 7th. I gave him fair warning that the other officers are going to leave. You’re not going to be blindsided like Georgiana. The mayor-elect has been advised that in two weeks, he should have his new police force ready to take over the night of the 7th.”

Earlier this week, the police chief and all but one officer in Georgiana walked out en masse in a disagreement over administration.

Nov. 7 is the day new municipal administrations will be sworn in in communities across Alabama. The first task for new administrations is to appoint department heads. Florala’s new mayor and council members are scheduled to take the oath of office at 5 p.m.

Bedsole said he told Holley that he told his officers to stay and work if they would.

“There is no hard feeling on my part,” Bedsole said. “They said they were not going to work if I wasn’t the chief.”

Bedsole addressed the current officers working at the FPD as well.

“As for the officers working there, practically all have jobs to go to at different agencies,” he said. “My other officers have jobs they are going to. Three of them are fulltime. My assistant chief is expected to go to Walton County. Another is going to Opp or Andalusia and another is going to Geneva County. I have six part-time officers. They have told me to remove them from the roster when I leave. I think part of this is loyalty.

Bedsole said he appreciated the kind words that have been expressed about the last 7.5 years.

“I have always tried to do what is right,” he said. “I have tried to be fair with how I dealt with people – rich, poor, black or white.”

Bedsole said in the 7.5 years he’s been the police chief the city has had no lawsuits against the police department.

“Our municipal insurance is going down about $2,000 a year because of that.”

Bedsole said he wasn’t going to make a big scene, but he’s not going to “roll over and play dead either.”

“It’s just small town politics in my opinion,” he said.

The chief said he’s unsure what his next move will be, but that he’s trusting in the Lord.

The Star-News reached out to Holley, but he declined to comment before the new administration takes office on Nov. 7.