Opelika mayor announces new police chief - WRBL

Opelika mayor announces new police chief

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Opelika Mayor Gary Fuller announced the appointment of the city's new Chief of Police who brings years of local and federal expertise to the job.

As a former Opelika police officer and FBI agent, John McEachern says he's happy to be serving the citizens of the place he calls home.

McEachern joined the Opelika police department in 1974 and over the next 14 years would work his way up to Corporal. Then he got his dream job at the FBI, where he spent more than 20 years investigating around the country.

Mayor Fuller has been searching for a replacement for long-time chief Tommy Mangham since the end of February and says he chose McEachern for his wealth of experience.

"I think he'll be a great leader for this department," says the mayor. "I think he'll be an excellent administrator because with an $8.5 million budget and 103 people, that's a lot to keep up with."

McEachern says he and the mayor see eye to eye. Fuller says neither he nor the chief are the boss of Opelika.

McEachern says, "We're going to serve the citizens in a respectful manner, a courteous manner; people will be treated with dignity, and every officer working under me, they will all learn this if they don't know this already."

While his experience was the main reason he got the job, the mayor says McEachern being an Opelika native was an added bonus. "He would have stood out if he lived in Birmingham," says Fuller, "but the fact that he grew up in Opelika, was born here, has friends and family and local knowledge, friendships that transcend many years, of course that made a difference."

McEachern says his priority now is to work with all Lee County agencies to lower the crime rate. "It's going to be a lot of long hours of work," he says, "but the citizens of Opelika will be proud of their police department, and I'm proud to be the police chief."

McEachern moved back to Opelika seven years ago to work with the FBI investigating corruption and white collar crime. He retired in September 2012.

McEachern's first day on the job will be April 15.

Jessi Mitchell

Jessi joined the WRBL news team in October 2012 after working as a freelance production assistant for MTV Networks in Los Angeles.

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