TUSKEGEE, AL (WSFA) - After going almost two months without a permanent police chief, Tuskegee has found former Chief Lester Patrick's replacement. Montgomery native Marquez James has been chosen as the new police chief of the Tuskegee Police Department.
"There's been lots of support and very welcoming. I'm happy to be here," said Marquez James.
James was appointed by the Tuskegee City Manager, and officially took his position Tuesday.
"I just really enjoy helping people and that's what I'm here for. That's why I chose Tuskegee because I thought I could make a difference," said James.
James, who now lives in Pike Road with his family, graduated with his Bachelor's degree in criminal justice/public safety from Faulkner University.
He joined the Montgomery Police Department in 2002, where he worked in the Traffic Homicide Bureau as an investigator and traffic crash reconstructionist. In 2006, James joined the Alabama State Police Department.
James spent 12 years as a member of the ASUPD. He served as a Police Lieutenant/Adjunct to the Chief of Police, mostly overseeing day-to-day operations as well as managing the department's Criminal Investigations Unit.
During his 12 years, he also instructed the ASU Violence against Women Program, which educated citizens and police on the "intricate legalities" associated with domestic violence and sexual assault.
As James leads Tuskegee PD he is focused on a number of things, but one of them is serving the community and working with the community to bring forth change.
"My first priority is to change the perception that the community has in reference to law enforcement. Also I want to make sure the police department operates with integrity," said James.
Tuskegee City Manager Bernard Houston says an emphasis on community engagement wasn't the only thing that made James standout over the other applicants.
"One of the things that came out in the interview was his use of an app and wanting to implement technology in the way we do policing. I think this change couldn't have come at a better time," said Houston.
"I think we will be able to move in a positive direction and get things done in a reasonable amount of time," said James.
James will be officially sworn in Friday 2 p.m at the Tuskegee Municipal Complex.