Montevallo police chief resigns

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 13, 2005

The Montevallo City Council accepted the resignation of Police Chief Steve Southerland Monday night and Mayor Sharon Anderson appointed a committee to begin the process to hire a new police chief.

The council also took action to repeal an old ordinance regarding vehicles forfeited by drivers who’ve had their licenses suspended or revoked for driving under the influence, but who continued to drive.

The council voted to make the police chief, the position now held in an acting capacity by Public Safety Director Tom Smitherman, the appointing authority for all police department positions except those of police chief and director of public safety.

In his letter of resignation, Southerland noted that his resignation was tendered &8220;freely and voluntarily&8221; and not a result of &8220;coercion or duress.&8221;

He said the effective date, Nov. 30, is &8220;unconditional,&8221; that his resignation &8220;may not be withdrawn once accepted by the appointing authority.&8221; He also noted in the letter that his employment with the city &8220;will automatically terminate on the effective date indicated.&8221;

Montevallo Mayor Sharon Anderson announced on Nov. 10 that Southerland and sergeant Hardy Cook had been placed on administrative leave with pay.

Smitherman was appointed as Montevallo Public Safety Director and is currently conducting an internal investigation of the police department regarding the possibility of policy and procedure violations.

The Montevallo City Council also unanimously approved an ordinance to establish the office of director of public safety to which Smitherman was appointed to provide for the temporary administration of the city’s police department.

In pre-council, Monday night, Smitherman reported that the administrative part of that investigation being conducted by him was nearing completion.

The council voted unanimously to repeal sections of the city code known as the Safe Streets Act regarding the vehicle of those convicted of DUI but who continued to drive so that the city could revert to the state code now in effect.

The council also unanimously voted to designate the chief of police as the appointing authority for all possessions, except that of police chief and director of public safety.

Smitherman requested both the repeal of the Safe Streets Act and the appointing authority for police positions.

He asked for the appointing authority in the Police Department &8220;for the efficient and effective operation of the Police Department.&8221;

Anderson appointed a committee composed of Smitherman, Councilmembers Willie Goldsmith and Dana Byrd, Johnny McClain and Chris Corbell to hire a new police chief