The assistant chief of Columbus Police Department has resigned.
Edrick C. Hall, who has worked for CPD for about two weeks, submitted his resignation Tuesday morning to resume his prior position as Indianola police chief, according to a CPD press release.
Hall was hired in May and sworn in as assistant chief on July 17.
CPD Chief Fred Shelton said Hall, who began work with the department on July 8, was an “asset” in his short time at CPD.
“He helped me get some things established, so in his short time here, he was fruitful,” Shelton said.
Hall told The Dispatch the decision to return to Indianola was a “very tough decision” and he eventually made it because of family issues, about which he didn’t go into detail.
“I really want to thank Chief Shelton for giving me the opportunity to work for the city of Columbus,” Hall said. “His future, the way he desires the police department to be, would be outstanding if continues to have the support of the mayor and the (city council), and I really hate I won’t be a part of it.”
Indianola Mayor Steve Rosenthal said the city’s board of aldermen voted 3-2 on July 9 to ask Hall to remain as police chief, and that Hall accepted later that week.
“I was working my hardest to try and get him to stay here in Indianola,” Rosenthal said, “And I told your mayor when he first asked me about him, I said I wanted him to know I was going to do my best to convince him not to leave us.”
Hall said when Rosenthal told him of the board’s decision, he said he would have to pray about it. He said he made Shelton aware of both the board’s decision and Hall’s own family issues to see if they could work it out. He alerted Shelton on Monday that he decided to return to Indianola.
Rosenthal said before Hall was hired in Columbus, he made about $62,000 a year as police chief. Now Hall is making $66,000, which matches his salary as Columbus assistant chief.
Columbus hired Hall to fill the spot left vacant by Fred Shelton, who was promoted to police chief in January.
Hall was selected from among 18 applicants for the assistant chief position. City Public Information Officer Joe Dillon said CPD leadership plans to meet next week to determine the exact steps for launching a new search.
What might have been
Hall said he was still thankful for the time he’d spent in Columbus and that he’d “hit the ground running,” giving his ideas on new policies and procedures.
“I miss it already,” he said. “I already have citizens from Columbus giving me calls and text messages saying, ‘We’re going to miss you. Thanks,’ and things like that.”
Some Columbus city councilmen said they had been impressed with Hall during his two weeks with the department but added they had an idea Indianola officials wanted Hall to remain with their police department.
Ward 6 Councilman Bill Gavin said he had learned about Hall’s planned departure in the last few days.
“I was aware of it, but I think all that just happened within the last couple of days or so, or over the weekend,” Gavin said.
Still, he said he’d been impressed during Hall’s short tenure at Columbus, specifically mentioning a meeting during which city and police department leaders discussed a grant that Hall had knowledge of.
“He had some pretty good ideas, I thought,” he said. “He seemed very knowledgeable about the situation and some things that came up that we could address. … I hate to see him go.”
Ward 5 Councilman Stephen Jones agreed.
“I thought he was going to be good for the job,” Jones said. “I hate that we’re losing him, but I wish him the best. I can certainly understand if … (Indianola Police Department) wanted to keep him and not having to move and not having to uproot his family from where they were. … But I do hate that we lost him because he seemed like he had a lot of good ideas.”
Indianola’s efforts to keep Hall
Hall said Indianola tried to hold onto him with “gorilla glue and anything else that they could put their hands on.”
Rosenthal said there was a push from the community in Indianola to find ways to keep Hall on as police chief there. About 25 of the police department’s 29 officers were present at the July 9 aldermen meeting in support of Hall and community business leaders had approached Rosenthal and asked what they could do to convince Hall to stay in Indianola.
“A group of people came to me and said, ‘Look, what can we do as community leaders, collect on his behalf, and how can we get it to him for him to stay?'” Rosenthal said. “So they were willing to personally, out of their pocket, commit some additional funds if the city didn’t come up with it. But the city did come up with ($66,000).”
He said since Hall became Indianola’s chief two years ago, the violent crime rate in the city has decreased “tremendously” and the community has become more cooperative with the police department.
“Part of it is a pat on the back to him and part of it is how lousy it was,” Rosenthal said. “Our community did not trust our police department, and now they do. The phone rings constantly at the police department with tips. … Prior to (Hall) taking office, nobody wanted to give information. One, they were worried that the police were involved with it. That mindset is gone completely. He didn’t mess around — if somebody wasn’t a good cop, he sent them on to some other community.”