Birmingham Chief May Face Public Perception Challenge


Despite a surge in homicides have heightened scrutiny of the state’s largest police force and its chief, Birmingham, Al.’s Chief Annetta Nunn prefers to remain low-profile, a trait that has served her well in her two-decade climb through the ranks, says the Birmingham News. As violent crime increases, some say Nunn, 47, could help herself and the department by waging a more forceful battle to mold public perception. “The only fault I find with Chief Nunn is I don’t think she talks enough about what the department is doing,” said Johnnie Johnson, the city’s chief from 1991 to 1998.

The number of homicides in the city now stands at 62, up 42 percent from this time last year. Crime rates aren’t the best measure of a chief’s success, said Chuck Wexler, executive director of Police Executive Research Forum in Washington, D.C.: “I don’t think that the crime rate is ever the only factor,” he said. “It is one big factor, and it’s valuable, but today police chiefs are measured on a whole set of criteria – how well they work with the community, how well they manage the department, whether they’re using technology to have an impact on crime, how they handle the daily calls and whether citizens are satisfied with their work.”


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