Madison Police Chief talks about his time on the force before retiring

Updated: Dec. 16, 2020 at 10:58 PM CST
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MADISON, Ala. (WAFF) - The city of Madison’s Police Chief announced his retirement this week.

On Wednesday our crews sat down with him to find out about his accomplishments while working for the city, and what he feels his challenges were.

Chief Dave Jernigan said he went into law enforcement because of the hero in his life; his father. Now, his father’s shadow box sits on his office shelf as a reminder to always do his best to protect the community.

“My dad was career military and went into World War II, dropped out of school after Pearl Harbor was bombed, spent time in the Navy, and another 15 in law enforcement,” Chief Jernigan said.

Now, after 41 years in law enforcement, three-and-a -half of those as the Chief for the Madison Police Department, he will put away his badge.

When asked what Chief Jernigan’s favorite part about working for the city was, he said it’s the fact that he gets to protect the city where he not only works, but lives. It’s the city his children grew up in.

When asked about the challenges he’s faced in his position, he said it’s protecting a fast growing community.

“The thing about 911 is you call, we come,” Chief Jernigan said. “We want to make sure we are responsive and go to emergency calls first. If you have a vehicle break-in and the offender is not there, that call might get shuffled down a little bit until we can get the manpower behind to go there, collect evidence and things like that.”

A more recent challenge his department has faced is COVID-19.

“Maybe we weren’t as aggressive in the spring as others just to make sure we had minimal contact of course,” Chief Jernigan said. “I think the public kind of took advantage of that a little bit so we just had quite a few with accidents and speed limits so we had to tighten up a little bit.”

The chief’s last day will be January 15th.

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