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Higgins with city clerk Barbara Garnett
and mayor Johnny Hammock

New police chief named

By Michael Butler

Matthew Higgins says the title "Chief" suits him fine. Officially, Higgins role will be director of public safety in Tallassee. The city council unanimously approved his appointment in a special called meeting on Wednesday evening, Jan. 11.

The field which originally consisted of approximately applicants was narrowed to two after nine finalists interviewed for the opening vacated by Jimmy Rodgers.

"Both Leo McCall and Matthew Higgins were two great candidates," Tallassee mayor Johnny Hammock said. "I would've been able to work with either of them. I look forward to working with both of you guys."

Sgt. McCall is already a part of the Tallassee staff. Higgins has lived in Tallassee since moving here as a senior in high school. He retired with 22 years of service at the Montgomery Police Department. He has spent the past ten months working with the Autauga County Sheriff's Department.

"Years ago with Montgomery I thought how cool it would be to retire and work here," Higgins said. "This is home to me. I've coached little league sports and chaperoned choir trips. This is my community."

David Stough was chairman of the committe that interviewed the candidates.

"We had a tough decision with some well-trained, qualified people," Stough noted. "We're proud to have Mr. Higgins. Mr. McCall has a long-time, good career in our Tallassee Police Department."

Higgins said his phone has not stopped ringing since the announcement.

"It's humbling, but feels good to know you've got the support of a lot of people. That's the only way you get to this position is through the people you work with and what you learn along side them."

Higgins pointed out that while the size of a department like the one he served on in Montgomery is quite larger by comparison to one like Tallassee, the same types of crimes exist.

"Unfortunatley, drugs are a big thing anywhere you go in the country," he said. "That breeds a lot of other crimes. A lot of your burglaries and thefts are people trying to get stuff to buy drugs. Ultimately drugs are the heart of the cause."

The new chief will be pulling some "double duty" for the next few weeks.

"I couldn't really quit one job until I was sure I had another job," Higgins added.

Several officers were in attendance at City Hall when Higgins was announced as their next police chief.

"It shows that the officers care. It's good to see them there and be concerned about the direction that the department is going to go in. I'd love to stay here until I'm done with law enforcement. As long as I've got the support, I'd love to stay here until I'm too old to do it anymore."

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