Earl appointed interim police chief after Jewell’s dismissal

By Bill Short

Staff Writerearl

Mayor Chris Goodman announced last week that he appointed Police Capt. Chris Earl as interim police chief after Rick Jewell was “released from his duties.”
Goodman made the announcement Thursday night during the regular monthly meeting of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen.
While acknowledging that it was “not an easy decision” to make, the mayor noted that its purpose is to take the police department “in a little different direction.” And he considered it necessary to have “new leadership” in order to achieve that.
Goodman said Earl has accepted the interim position until a “permanent” decision can be made.
“We are grateful for Mr. Jewell’s service provided to the town of Oakland during his tenure,” he said. “We’re also excited about where we’re moving forward.”
During an interview after the meeting, the mayor said he wants to ensure “unity” within the police department and to make sure the residents realize and understand its role. He believes some “different communication” will help move that forward more quickly than where the department was previously heading.
Goodman recalled that, when he first became mayor, he heard “rumors” that there were morale problems within the department. And the “hints” seemed to become more apparent during the past three or four weeks.
The mayor said his decision was driven by the “lack of unity,” as well as his knowledge “from history” of the potential effect it can have on the officers and the town itself.
“I just felt that the department itself wasn’t as unified as it could be,” he noted. “So, changing leadership often gives you the opportunity to straighten that out.”
Earl is a graduate of The University of Memphis with a bachelor’s degree in professionalism and paralegal. He has also attended the Command School at Northwest University.
He retired from the Memphis Police Department after 26 years. From 2006 until 2010, he ran the Narcotics Unit in the Millington department. He has been a member of the Oakland department for about three years.
While he has spent most of his law enforcement career in Special Operations, Earl said he has worked in “all divisions.”
“I’m big into police-community relations,” he noted, “and that’s what I’ll be hammering home here, right underneath safety for the citizens. That’s what I’m really excited about – getting some programs started for that, to get the citizens and the police on the same page.”
Goodman said the town will advertise the open permanent position, and he might accept applications for two to four weeks. After determining who he considers the most qualified candidate, the mayor will submit the nomination to the board for approval.
Earl said he plans to apply for the permanent position, and Goodman noted that he will be “strongly considered” for it.