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Hartselle Enquirer
Priceville's new police chief, Jerry Holmes, 51

New Priceville police chief wants more proactive policing

By Wes Tomlinson

For the Enquirer

Priceville’s new police chief says he wants the department to engage in more proactive law enforcement.

“We need to solve issues before the crime occurs,” said Jerry Holmes, 51, who was promoted from sergeant to chief this week. “I don’t believe in just riding by and waving at people. You need to get out and see what’s going on and talk to folks.”

Holmes recounted an incident last week where proactive policing came in handy. He said he and his crew had stopped to speak with a suspicious-acting man they encountered at a motel.

“Just the other night, we got out and talked to some folks and wound up making an arrest and a gentleman had illegal narcotics in his socks,” Holmes said. “We ended up making a case on him and we needed to. We don’t need (drugs) in our community.”

Although he has only been with with Priceville Police Department for a little more than a year, Holmes was appointed to his new position by Mayor Sam Heflin during a Town Council meeting Monday. The promotion took effect immediately.

“We’re going to work hard and we’re going to be aggressive,” Holmes said. “We’re going to be fair and do this the right way.”

Holmes had spent his entire 21-year law enforcement career in Morgan County. His most recent police job before coming to Priceville was a five-year stint with the Trinity Police Department. He previously had spent over 13 years with the Decatur Police Department, working as an acting supervisor and spending time with a crime unit and the SWAT team.

Heflin said the council usually appoints the police chief and the city clerk, but said if the chief retires or leaves, it falls to him to appoint the new chief.

Holmes was born and raised in Hartselle and said he believed his greatest assets were his ability to work with people and solve problems. He and his wife, Liz, have five children.

Heflin said problem-solving ability was among the reasons he appointed Holmes chief.

“When you get into a stressful situation, having that calm voice and that calm personality, that means a lot,” Heflin said. “(Holmes) communicates well with me and other police officers, the media, and just everybody. He’s just got a great personality all around.”

After leaving Trinity Police Department, Holmes took some time off from law enforcement to start his own landscaping business but said he realized being a police officer was his true calling.

Priceville’s population increased 32% between the 2010 and 2020 censuses, rising from 2,658 to 3,512. Holmes said he will continue to monitor the municipality’s growth and hire more officers according to the rate of that growth.

“When that time gets here, we’ll address that problem by adding more officers,” Holmes said. “Priceville is not getting any smaller but I’m excited about it.”

Former chief Rick Williams announced his retirement in March, two months after being wounded with non-life-threatening injuries in a shootout. He had been in the department 22 years.

Williams was at the Town Council meeting Monday and said he was pleased with Heflin’s decision.

“I think that my shoes will be filled in a good way,” Williams said. “I can sleep well at night now.”

Heflin said Williams will stay with the department as a training officer.