BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Birmingham's 'top cop' is retiring.
A.C. Roper is one of the city's longest serving police chiefs in recent years.
But Tuesday, Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin announced that next year, Chief Roper will retire.
"As many of you know, this is a big deal. Chief has served the city with distinction," Woodfin said during a news conference. "At the same time, Chief Roper's departure provides us with an opportunity to take a fresh look at the city's most serious issue - crime."
Woodfin says he hasn't found a replacement yet and will use a national search firm to find his replacement.
Also important, he says, is hearing from community members on the issue.
"Not just what I'm looking for as mayor, but what does the community, what does the city of Birmingham, what do our 99 neighborhoods need in a top dog law enforcement officer?" said Woodfin.
Woodfin did not give a firm timeline on when he hopes to have a replacement, but said he would be pleased to see some sort of movement in his first 100 days in office.
He says Roper will stay on until a new chief is named. "That is a decision we won't rush. We have to get it right. When I say we are looking for a world class leader for police chief, I really mean that," said Woodfin.
In a statement released through the mayor's office Tuesday, Roper said:
"Several weeks ago, all department heads were given a choice to apply for reappointment to their positions. However, after a considerable amount of prayer, my family and I decided I would not submit a resume for consideration. I advised Mayor Woodfin on November 8th that this is perfect timing since November 26th would be my 10 year anniversary. Serving as Chief of Police in the amazing city of my birth has been the privilege of a lifetime. My family and I are extremely proud of and grateful to the officers, professional staff members, citizens and partner agencies who have supported me through my tenure.
Mayor Woodfin has been extremely gracious and has asked me to continue to serve and assist him as he begins the search for a new Police Chief over the coming months."
No word yet on what Roper will do next. Besides serving as police chief, he is also a Major General in the U.S. Army Reserves.