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Three Big Things

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  • Mobile Mayor Stimpson: Chief Paul Prine went 'AWOL'

    Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson responded to claims made by Mobile Police Chief Paul Prine, following the City’s decision to put the chief on administrative leave.

    Stimpson told FM Talk 106.5's Sean Sullivan on "Midday Mobile" that the decision culminated from issues over a period of time. After former U.S. Attorney Kenyan Brown reviewed procedures and policies, it became evident to Stimpson that the chief's best practices and procedures did not align with his own.

    He said as mayor, he made the final move to do what was best for the City. He said he tried to offer Prine a separation package that included a non-disparaging agreement, but then he claimed Prine went AWOL.

    "We weren't going to say anything bad about him he wasn't going to say anything bad about us, but that is a normal separation agreement," Stimpson told Sullivan. "And we said you know, 'Take the time to do it,' and over a period of two weeks we couldn't get him to give us an answer. So, there was a day that he just didn't show up he was AWOL. You know, police were asking, 'Where's the chief?' Then we had [noticed] that he absolutely cleaned his office out."

    “[S]o, the media finally found out about it and the media asked us you know, What is going on?” he continued. “We were willing to play this thing out as long as he needed the time to make the right decision but when the media asked us what was going on we had to give them an answer.”

    Prine previously said this started because of two separate grievances he filed that were not investigated. He said as chief he felt the need to voice his concerns about possible financial impropriety.

    Stimpson said Prine had an issue with not having control of the Gulf Coast Technology Center, but there is a reason the center is set up that way.

    “And really that's been done by design,” Stimpson explained. “And it's because of the sensitivity of some of the stuff that they're dealing with. And also because we wanted it to be kind of a, not just a MP thing but a regional thing and there's no other technology center and nobody doing what we're doing, so there's reasons from a checks and balances standpoint and mission standpoint that it's not under PD that's been a rub for him.”

    Prine has previously expressed concerns over the ShotSpotter program and believes it is ineffective.

    Stimpson said another issue was that Prine did not want to report to Rob Laskey, the executive director of public safety, due to morale issues the position creates. However, Stimpson said the chain of command is important in his administration and must be respected.

    “Well, I've got a problem with that because there is a chain of command, and it goes to the executive director,” Stimpson added. “Typically, the chief of staff is somewhere involved in there but at the end of the day, what he was saying was he didn't want to work with the chief of staff. He didn't want to work with the executive director. He didn't trust me. And so, you know, what are my options? And then based on the other information that I had from the Kenyan Brown report, then there's time for change.”

    Stimpson said city administrators were made aware of possible issues with the police department. Decisions were made to improve those issues, including the hiring of a consultant to work with the chief on how to engage with the African American community. The review was another way Stimpson said a third-party could come in and inspect what was going on inside the department.

    As for claims that Prine made the statement, “Don't pay attention to what I say in the media, f*** the public,” Stimpson said the comment was made soon after Prine became chief but he said he didn’t know about it until a draft of the report was sent to him.

    “I was not [aware],” he said. “Somebody came and told Kenyon Brown that and then it was relayed to me. Relayed to the command staff. So, that was not a known thing.”

    Stimpson also told Sullivan Prine’s leadership style was to use fear.

    “I'm not going to sit here and argue whether that's a good part of leadership,” Stimpson said. “I know that happens with some leaders, but that's an admission that he thinks that's part of his leadership style.”

    Lowering crime is one thing the mayor said Prine did do.

    “If you look at things on the outside, having to do with the crime has been declining and the attrition is in a good place. There are certain things that the chief has to feel very good about,” Stimpson said. “I'm very proud of him for that. But there's some other things and other undercurrents where it puts the city at risk that I have to think about from a risk standpoint.”

    As for the change in leadership under the Stimpson administration, he said several other chiefs of police have retired or gone onto better opportunities. He said he expects the controversy to impact morale both in the police department and in the community, so he is meeting with command staff to figure out how to move forward.


     See more here: Mobile Mayor Stimpson: Chief Paul Prine went 'AWOL' (1819news.com)

  • Alabama teacher certification: State approves first alternative teacher prep program

    By 

    The Alabama Board of Education has approved the state’s first non-college-based alternative teacher preparation program, a move the schools chief said could help with the state’s teacher shortage.

    Iteach was one of two nontraditional programs up for a vote on April 11. State Superintendent Eric Mackey said the program could bring “dozens” of teachers into schools. Once iteach creates an Alabama-specific program, likely this fall, teachers could begin entering classrooms 8 weeks after starting the program.

    “They’re targeting people who already have a college degree, who are in some way dissatisfied with their current work situation or pathway and want to become a teacher,” Mackey said of iteach, the newly-approved program

    Several state laws in recent years have expanded ways that alternative teacher preparation programs can become licensed in the state.

    Iteach is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation programs. It was approved with five yes votes, the minimum needed for board approval. Board members Stephanie Bell and Wayne Reynolds abstained from voting.

    Board member Jackie Zeigler was the single no vote, telling AL.com she was concerned that the current rules do not have enough safeguards to ensure quality of the candidates who complete the program.

    “I just worry that there’s not enough accountability,” Zeigler said. “I think oversight is critical. And I was not convinced that that was a measure in place in the way the rules are written.”

    In Alabama, alternative programs can qualify for licensure if they have been established for at least 10 years, have operated successfully in at least five states, and have certified at least 10,000 teachers in the U.S. They also must ensure candidates are up-to-date on state math and literacy standards and provide additional support to candidates after they are placed in schools.

    “We’re all for certifying additional teachers and filling vacancies – we need that,” Allison King, government liaison for the Alabama Education Association, told AL.com recently. “We just want to make sure it’s quality programming and it’s producing a quality product.”

    The other alternative teacher prep program on the board’s meeting agenda, American Board, was not voted on because the motion to approve, made by board member Marie Manning, failed to get a second.

    The board did not approve an alternative teacher program on the March meeting agenda because five board members abstained from that vote. Zeigler was one of the five abstaining from the vote.

    Lawmakers are currently considering a bill that would add another accreditor, the Association for Advancing Quality Education Preparedness. Mackey said he is unfamiliar with that accreditation institution.

    Mackey said that if credentialing is expanded to include more alternative programs, the state will fairly evaluate new candidates. But he said he doesn’t like changing the rules so often.


    Read the rest of the story here: Alabama teacher certification: State approves first alternative teacher prep program - al.com

  • FBI chief Chris Wray warns of ‘coordinated attack’ on US just weeks after Moscow concert hall horror

    FBI Director Christopher Wray warned lawmakers Thursday that there is a growing fear among law enforcement officials of a “coordinated attack” inside the US — weeks after an ISIS assault on a concert hall in Moscow killed 145 people and wounded hundreds more.

    “Our most immediate concern has been that individuals or small groups will draw twisted inspiration from the events in the Middle East to carry out attacks here at home,” Wray told a House Appropriations subcommittee.

    “But now, increasingly concerning is the potential for a coordinated attack here in the homeland, akin to the ISIS-K attack we saw at the Russia concert hall a couple weeks ago.”

    On March 22, four gunmen affiliated with ISIS-K, a terrorist group that largely operates out of Afghanistan and Pakistan, stormed Moscow’s Crocus City Hall ahead of a sold-out concert, killing at least 145 people and wounding 551 more.

    US officials claim that Washington warned the Kremlin in advance of the attack, but Russian officials failed to take sufficient action to thwart the rampage.

    Wray’s renewed warning about the threat environment came amid his testimony on the bureau’s fiscal year 2025 budget request.

    “As I look back over my career in law enforcement, I’d be hard-pressed to think of a time where so many threats to our public safety and national security were so elevated all at once,” he said in his prepared remarks.

    “But that is the case as I sit here today. This is not a point when we can let up.”

    Wray has issued similar warnings in the past, especially in the months that followed the Oct. 7, 2023, Hamas terror attack in Israel.

    His testimony took place against the backdrop of deep unease among some House Republicans over the bureau, with some suggesting that the FBI be defunded over purported bias against conservatives.

    Additionally, Wray emphasized his call for Congress to renew Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which is set to expire on April 19.

    An effort to pass a rule advancing a renewal of that surveillance authority flamed out on the House floor Wednesday when 19 Republicans voted against it.

    Wray also called FISA renewal “critical in securing our nation, and we’re in crunch time.”



    READ MORE: FBI chief Chris Wray warns of 'coordinated attack' on US after Moscow concert hall horror (nypost.com)

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