Decatur Police Chief retiring from law enforcement

Published: Jan. 25, 2022 at 4:46 PM CST
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DECATUR, Ala. (WAFF) - The head of the Decatur Police Department officially stepped down from his duties Tuesday.

WAFF 48 learned, Nate Allen, who has led the department for six years, is retiring from law enforcement altogether. Although this news came as a surprise to many people, he says this is his choice.

“No, no, I’m not being forced out. If I was being forced out, would it look like that on my face? No that is strictly a rumor,” Allen said.

Allen is ready to step away from the profession after 36 years in law enforcement.

“I have two 15-year-olds that are growing up, and it’s time to spend some more time with the family. I think it’s time to be a dad and spend some time there,” he explained.

As to the state he is leaving the department, Allen says he has been able to keep shifts staffed properly. He says right now, recruiting and retaining police officers is a major challenge. Both here in Decatur, and nationwide.

Right now there are 20 open positions within the department.

“Police officers are being charged, police officers are being put in jail, in prison, so it’s a profession that is scrutinized 24/7, everything that you do, so a lot of folks don’t want to have that 24/7 scrutiny. To top it off, it’s dangerous and the pays low,” Allen said.

Allen says that’s a challenge the next chief will have to tackle.

“The perception issue, why people don’t want to become police officers. I think there’s a bad perception. To me I think it’s still a noble, and humbling job and we need to get that message out,” he said.

Mayor Tab Bowling says he couldn’t talk to any issues in the department.

“I’m not in a position to talk about any of those things, so really we’re thankful to Chief Allen’s service to the Decatur Police Department, we wish him well. We expect to see some favorable efforts made as it relates to recruiting new officers, and we look forward to that happening,” Mayor Bowling said.

Decatur City Council President Jacob Ladner says Allen was great at connecting with the community, something he hopes to find in the next chief.

“The chief always, we felt like did a great job serving the community. And that developed a lot of trust. [We’ll] hopefully select our next chief sooner rather than later,” Ladner said.

Allen says he is looking into consulting work to improve the relationship between police and the community. Ladner says he expects to learn more about the process of hiring the next chief at the work session this Monday.

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