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Mobile police chief announces retirement after being placed on administrative leave

Prine was placed on administrative leave pursuant to an ongoing investigation into the Mobile Police Department.

Mobile Police Chief Paul Prine
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Mobile Chief of Police Paul Prine announced he was retiring after the City of Mobile said he was placed on administrative leave pursuant to an ongoing investigation into the Mobile Police Department.

Prine’s statement he was retiring came during an interview with Fox10 News reporter Ariel Mallory following the news he was being placed on administrative leave. According to the city earlier on Tuesday, Prine was placed on administrative leave following the conclusion of a report into the department’s policies and trainings.

“Mobile Police Chief Paul Prine has been officially placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the report by former US Attorney Kenyan Brown after a third-party review of the department’s training, policies, pattern and practices. Assistant Chief William “Randy” Jackson will serve as interim Police Chief,” the city said.

In 2023, Mobile police officers shot and killed several Black people during several incidents specifically two pre-dawn raids. In May 2023, Mobile police shot and killed Kordell Jones during a raid when they were looking for his brother. Then, in November officers conducted a pre-dawn raid which lead to officers shooting a 16-year-old in the torso with the teen later succumbing to his injuries.

Mobile police officers were also involved in the death of Jawan Dallas who died in July after being tased by officers. 

During the interview, Prine says he was retiring because of “vindictive behavior” by specific city officials. 

“I’m being forced out simply because of a power struggle between some of those at the highest levels of this city,” Prine said.

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On Wednesday, Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson released a statement regarding the situation involving Prine. Stimpson said that early in Brown’s investigation Prine made a comment to other officers dismissing the media along with saying, “f**k the public.” Stimpson also says Prine was offered a severance package but instead the former chief requested a payout of 600,000 which the city refused.

Stimpson’s entire statement can be read below:

Mobile Mayor Sandy Simpson has released the following statement in response to recent public comments made by Paul Prine.

“As Mayor, my top priority has always been public safety. There has never been a more difficult time to be a police officer. The men and women of MPD are among the bravest, most dedicated, and hardworking officers in the country. Our citizens have entrusted me with the honor of making decisions that directly impact our police department’s ability to keep them safe. Simply put, I am responsible for ensuring those men and women have the tools. training. resources. and leadership to do the job. Conversely, if we are lacking in any one of those areas, I am responsible for addressing it. In the last decade, we have worked to institute twenty-first century intelligence-led policing techniques to target offenders instead of neighborhoods using a data-driven approach. The results of this were better communication and more trust between the Mobile Police Department and the community. In the last several months, there has been a breakdown in communications between Paul Prine and our intelligence unit. This has been particularly concerning to me Additionally, concerns have been raised about a high frequency of officer involved incidents. To help

address those concerns and buld back trust between the department and the community and in coordination with the Mobile City Council, we engaged former US Attorney Kenyen Brown to conduct a third-party review of policies, procedures, and training within the department. Specifically, we wanted to know that our policies, procedures, and training are in line with best practices in policing. Following Kenyen’s local visit, in a preliminary briefing of his findings, it was relayed to me and my administrative team 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 inapproproate statements early in his tenure. I was shocked and disappointed to hear that at one open roll call in the first precinct, several officers who were present at the time confirmed that Prine said something to the effect of, “Don’t pay attention to what I say in the media, f**k the public.” The investigators found this remark to have set the tone for a cultural shift from respecting everyone in our community to the use of profanity and a lack of adherence to de-escalation training taught within MPD’s training academy. The investigators also relayed concerns around Prine’s authoritarian leadership style, saying he openly advised that he uses fear in his management approach. In addition to these preliminary findings and my concerns around irreconcilable ditterences between Prine and other public safety officials in the administration, there was also a series of frivolous complaints by Prine, which were demonstrably false. In consideration of all the information in front of me. I made the decision to go in a ditterent direction with the leadership of the Mobile Police Department. Out of respect for Prine’s twenty-seven years of service to our community, we ottered an amicable retirement with a reasonable severance package, which was in line with his current salary. We further advised him that we would need an answer from him quickly. This was nearly two weeks ago. Over the course of the last two weeks, we urged Prine for a response, while also giving him the privacy and time to make a decision. Unfortunately, during this time, he began packing up his office and became absent from his duties. Leadership of the department relayed that they were dead in the water with no one at the helm. At this point, it became paramount to ensure continuity of operations for the safety or our citizens. After we were contacted by local reporters asking about his status with the department, we gave Prine several more hours yesterday to relay to us whether he would be accepting our otter. He responded with a demand for a lump sum payout of $600,000. We declined this request and further urged him to at least decide it he would be retiring and were unable to get a decision. I could not in good conscience allow MPD to continue operating without clear leadership at the helm and made the determination that it was time to place Prine on administrative leave. Any and all allegations of impropriety around contracts and invoices relayed by Prine in the last couple of weeks were immediately investigated by the city attorney and no improprieties were found. The men and women of the Mobile Police Department have my full backing and support. Their success is of utmost importance to me, and I am confident that the department is in good hands.”

UPDATE: This story was updated to include Mayor Sandy Stimpson’s statement. 

Patrick Darrington is a reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can reach him at [email protected].

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