Mayor Woodfin names Patrick D. Smith new Birmingham police chief

Birmingham Police Chief
From right to left. New Birmingham Police Chief Patrick Smith, city councilmen Darrell O’Quinn and Steven Hoyt and Mayor Woodfin. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now.

Today, Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin named longtime Los Angeles Police Department veteran Patrick D. Smith Birmingham’s new police chief.

According to the Mayor’s Office, Chief Smith, a native of Tuscaloosa, has 28 years of law enforcement experience with the LAPD.

“Chief Smith is dedicated to bridge building. He understands that a department is only as strong as the community it serves,” stated Woodfin.

Surrounded by members of the city council, local media, and community members, Chief Smith added.

“Let me reassure you, your mayor and his staff has hired a competent law enforcement professional, and I am here to represent you. First, I want to address the citizens of this city. To the residents, I know that there are 23 communities and 99 neighborhoods who make up the city of Birmingham. During the course of this process, I’ve listened to your words. I’ve read your comments. I’ve read the stories. I know what you are looking for in your chief of police.”

Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now.
Chief Smith’s story about wanting to become a police chief as a young man

Chief Smith concluded his comments relaying a story about why he wanted to become a police chief when he was a young man.

“This is so ironic and surreal for me.  Many years ago as a very young man, my fatherland I were in a car driving home. We happen to be stopped by officers.

They asked him a lot of questions. Where you going? Where you coming from? What are doing?  What’s going on?   The officers at that time, didn’t take the time to explain  to my father (why they stopped them)they just simply walked away.

It left a very bad feeling.

In that car ride on the way home, my father being a very humble man tried to explain to me what’s going on. What to expect. The problems with society.

So, I said dad when I grow up, I’m going to become chief of police, and I’m going to make sure that doesn’t happen again. My father just put on a big smile.  He said, you know son when you grow up, you can do anything you want to do. Today, although my father is no longer with me, I can feel his presence .  I know that he is here, in this room cheering because he saw the revelations many years ago as I made my way through the ranks of the Los Angeles Police Department.  I want the citizens to know what kind of chief they are getting.”

 

Chief Smith will take the reins of the Birmingham Police Department on June 18. Along with the announcement of Smith as police chief, Allen Treadaway was named assistant police chief.

  • Longtime conservationist. Former Executive Director at the Alabama Environmental Council and Wild South. Publisher of the Bama Environmental News for more than 18 years. Career highlights include playing an active role in the creation of Alabama's Forever Wild program, Little River Canyon National Preserve, Dugger Mountain Wilderness, preservation of special places throughout the East through the Wilderness Society and the strengthening (making more stringent) the state of Alabama's cancer risk and mercury standards.