City in good hands with new leaders

Published 7:06 pm Wednesday, December 10, 2008

We’re excited about the potential of the Clanton police and fire departments under their new leaderships. Brian Stilwell and David Driver were recently appointed by the City Council to lead our police and fire departments, respectively. What we’ve seen of and heard from these two men bodes well for the city’s services under their watch.

Stilwell took over for former police chief James Henderson, who retired. Nothing against the tenures of Henderson or Driver’s predecessor, Ashley Teel, but any time there is a change in leadership, it’s worth discussing what that change will mean for the residents it will affect. And we think this change will produce two leaders Clanton residents will be happy to have.

Both Stilwell and Driver will bring youth, motivation and fresh ideas to their posts.

Driver put in time with Prattville’s fire department. Stilwell, meanwhile, has experience at the Clanton PD and worked with the Chilton County Sheriff’s Department and the Jemison Police Department before being named Clanton’s top police official.

“I want us to let people know in the community why we do what we do,” Stilwell told The Clanton Advertiser on Tuesday. “We need to build good relationships out in the community. If you do that, then people will be more apt to defend you rather than criticize you.”

That’s a fine attitude and goal. Being appointed officials, it would be easy to understand if Stilwell and Driver didn’t feel their first priority is to the Clanton residents. But they’ll be more successful if they do keep the people of the community in mind.

Stilwell’s move meant Jemison had to find a new chief, and Shane Fulmer, who was second in command under Stilwell, will fill the position on an interim basis. Fulmer, like Stilwell and Driver in their new jobs, is qualified for the position.

Both Clanton and Jemison seem to be in fine shape for the future.