Maddox named Chief of Police for Clanton

By STEVEN CALHOUN/Staff Writer

The Clanton Police Department recently named Johnny Keith Maddox as Chief of Police. Maddox was formerly interim chief, and has been with the CPD for over 30 years.

“I started full time in 1980. I started [before that] as a security guard here,” said Maddox. “Two of my brothers were in law enforcement, so I just got the bug. I had a great-grandfather who was sheriff here. It’s just … in the genes so to speak.”

He got his start at the bottom, just like everyone else. It did not take long for him to rise through the ranks.

“I got to working with patrol a little bit … [Then] there was an opening and I became a full-time police officer in 1980. I went to the academy in 1981 and enjoyed it,” said Maddox. “I stuck with it and advanced through the ranks. I was actually, I think, the first corporal we ever had here in the police department.”

His climb through the ranks continued during his early years of service. Then, opportunity knocked. Maddox had served for about six years when there was a transition at the department. He was named interim chief, then chief quickly thereafter.

He served as chief of police for five years before he experienced a symptom many in law enforcement face.

“I got a little burned out on law enforcement and got out of it. I had been in it for about 10 years and got out of it for three years or so,” said Maddox.

Maddox said he pursued a management position at a paper company, in which he hoped to use his degree in business administration. After a few years away, he realized he still had a passion for law enforcement.

“[It was] just a little burnout. I probably should have just taken a long vacation and stuck with it,” said Maddox. “I didn’t, so I had to come back and start over. After coming back I’ve managed to get a law degree. I’ve found you’re never too old to learn, and I find that out almost every day.”

Maddox started back on patrol and worked his way back up to be an investigator. He said he maintained that position for 13 years before moving up.

“When chief Stilwell came … I stayed lieutenant in investigations for a while. Eventually he created the position of deputy chief and I became deputy chief,” said Maddox.

Maddox was named interim chief after former chief Brian Stilwell left the department. He served for a year and a half in that capacity before recently being named chief of police.

“Overall I think I’ve had four stints of interim chief over the years. This is actually the only department I’ve ever worked with. This is where I’ll retire,” said Maddox. “I appreciate the opportunity and the fact that the governing body has enough confidence in putting me in the position. I’ll try to do as good a job as I can for them.”

Maddox spoke on the current state of the department and what the CPD’s goals are right now.

“Law enforcement is changing very rapidly now. We’re trying to keep up the pace,” said Maddox. “Over the last several years we’ve really advanced a lot in this department. It’s got a long way to go, but I think we’re headed in the right direction.”

The department has seen many improvements over the last few months, including a new crime reporting system, new training methods for its officers and new information from the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing.

Maddox shared what has been on his mind concerning law enforcement as a whole, and how the CPD will strive to serve the community.

“This last year it’s struck me the hardest about law enforcement because of all the law enforcement related shootings and deaths. [These] kind of hit home with everybody in law enforcement, and since then … I’ve never had so many people come up to me and say they appreciate what I do. I think most of our officers here have run into the same situation,” said Maddox.

“I think all society kind of got a different understanding of what law enforcement is, even in a small community like ours. I think the vast majority of people do appreciate what we do, and we just want to try to live up to their appreciation and standards.”

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