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James Graboys named new interim police chief in Montgomery

On Tuesday, Montgomery Mayor Steven Reed announced that he has chosen a new interim police chief and a public safety adviser. James Graboys will serve as interim chief and Lawrence Battiste IV will serve as the Mayor's public safety adviser.

Graboys was the police chief at Alabama State University. He was presently working as a senior specialist with the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency. Graboys served as the police chief at Alabama State University from 2012 to 2019. He has 20 years of service with the Montgomery Police Department prior to his time with ASU.

Chief Graboys is a native of Providence, Rhode Island and a graduate of the Citadel. He has been awarded the Medal of Valor and the Medal of Merit.

"I love this town – I love this police department," Chief Graboys said. "I am going to do everything in my power and everything in my ability to lean no stone unturned to marshal every resource available to go after these offenders, to go after anybody who makes you feel unsafe, and form community partnerships."

"I am going to be reaching out to people," said Graboys. "If we marshal all of our resources we can make this city whatever we want it to be."

"Whether crime is up or crime is down, one crime is too many," said Graboys.

Graboys will take over the interim chief duties starting July 15.

Battiste was Mobile's public safety director from 2021 to 2023. In that role he oversaw police, fire and public safety communications for Mobile. He also worked for the city of Prichard Police.

"He will be coming on as an advisor to the Mayor to give all of us some things to consider," said Reed. "I don't think we could find anyone better than Chief Battiste."

"I want to say thank you for this opportunity to serve to try to improve where we are," said Battiste.

Battiste pledged to work to improve both the trust of the community and the trust within the department.

Reed thanked interim Chief John Hall for his service.

"I want to start by thanking acting Chief John Hall for his leadership and his family as well stepping up over the last couple of months to lead this department and step out of his role to run the department day to day," Mayor Reed said. "Chief Hall has done phenomenally well in some tough circumstances with some challenges not any fault of his own. We appreciate what he has done not just for the Montgomery PD, but what he has done in the community. He has kept us apprised of some things. He has kept us on the forefront. We are really grateful for his professionalism in what is a challenging time in his acting position."

Halll will remain with the Department as the chief of investigations.

The dramatic changes followed a mass gun battle at an outlaw party in Montgomery on Sunday morning that saw nine people shot, three hit by cars fleeing the scene, and one injured by flying glass.

350 rounds from multiple different weapons were fired in the melee in Montgomery's North Pass community.

Mayor Reed responded to the chaos by asking for assault weapons bans by the state and federal government.

As bad as Sunday's incident was, with 350 rounds fired in the direction of one thousand people Mayor Reed said that it could have been a whole lot worse.

Reed said that the city will continue its search for a new police chief.

"Our search for a permanent police chief continues," said Mayor Reed. "We have a search firm that is assisting us in that. They will be in the community in the coming weeks."

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