SELMA, Ala. (WSFA) - Hours after defending himself before the Selma City Council and one city councilman demanding his resignation, Selma Police Chief Spencer Collier confirmed to WSFA 12 News that he will soon retire.
Collier said his decision to step down was based on his health. The police chief said he’d taken leave, as of last week, under the Family Medical Leave Act. Collier suffers from back issues sustained in a car wreck several years ago.
Collier made no mention of plans to retire at the city council meeting Tuesday night, which he abruptly joined as Montgomery attorney Julian McPhillips was wrapping up remarks about the chief.
McPhillips said morale in the police department is at an all-time low because of the chief, and he said if the council does not appoint a new chief, they share in responsibility for what happens as a result. Collier said he was made aware of what McPhillips was saying, and he came to the meeting to respond.
McPhillips’ comments were in regard to the re-indictment of three Selma police officers who are his clients. They had seen their charges dropped weeks ago in connection to an investigation by the Alabama attorney general’s office, which was probing the theft of firearms from the police department.
Collier said when he became aware of the re-indictments Monday night, he notified the council president. He said he had no part in the re-indictments, which were handed down by a Dallas County grand jury.
Collier said no Selma police personnel testified during the re-indictments.
A council member asked for the chief’s resignation, to which Collier replied that crime is down.
Collier previously held the title of first secretary of the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency but was fired by then-Gov. Robert Bentley, whom Collier then sued. The 2016 civil case against the former governor was settled for more than half a million dollars.
Following his time with ALEA, new Selma Mayor Darrio Melton hired Collier as Selma’s police chief in early 2017.
Melton, who is embroiled in a lawsuit with the city council in regards to who appoints the police chief, has not publicly commented.
With Collier’s retirement, effective as of July 30, the city will be without both a police chief and a fire chief.
As for future plans, Collier said he wants to spend time with family and get well. He added there is a possibility he may run for Alabama’s District 1 congressional seat, currently held by Republican Bradley Byrne.