Deputy Chief Guns For Number One Spot At Police Department

If there's one thing you don't know about Mable Pierce, she loves people and she loves to smile and laugh.

"Very seldom you'll catch me not smiling," says Pierce.

One of those days was yesterday when Pierce found it hard to smile, much less concentrate on her work. She and the rest of the department's senior staff were called to Chief John Wilson's office.

"It was shocking," Pierce recalls.

Without warning, the chief called it quits after 28 years on the force.

"It was emotional. Most of the staff was sad but he seemed at peace with his decision," says Pierce.

Today Pierce, who was number 2, is now number 1 at least temporarily.

"I have mixed feelings and I'm honored. I feel good about that but I do have sad feelings under the circumstances," Pierce says.

26 years ago, a young Mable Pierce started with the Montgomery Police Department as a 22-year old patrol officer. She brought more than a gun and a badge to work. Mable Pierce had a dream.

"My dream was to stay here 20 years and at least obtain the rank of Sgt. I would be just as happy as I could be," Pierce says.

The police department has a force of 600. A budget in excess of $33 million dollars. Along with those headaches, the job of chasing bad folks. Who in their right mind would want this? Well, Mable does.

"It's not crazy. You do have to have a little sense of humor, but I'm ready for it. First and foremost you need to have the knowledge of what's involved," she says.

If she becomes chief, it would be one for the record books. Pierce will look back with pride at becoming the first black female chief.

"That would be a historical mark for the city," says Pierce.

Her only regret would be the way it came about, at the expense of a fallen friend.

A bit of history about the Montgomery Police Department. In 1954 3 black females were hired to serve as crossing guards. In 1975, Bobbie Gordon was the first black policewoman to work in a patrol car. If Mable Pierce doesn't get the job, she could retire because after all she has 26 years with the department but she hasn't decided. She's only 47-years old.