BEAR CREEK - After just over a year as Bear Creek’s police chief, Doug Hallman has resigned to pursue a career in fiber optics, with Eddie Collins, who has been investigator for the Haleyville Police Department, appointed by Mayor Rob Taylor as his replacement.
“I am going to work with my son-in-law in fiber optics,” said Hallman, who was hired as the town’s police chief Feb. 28, 2022.
When asked why he was making the change, Hallman responded, “I asked for a raise and didn’t get it, so I put in my resignation.”
One day later, Hallman was offered the fiber optics position, he noted.
“For the money I am going to be making, it is really hard to not give it a shot,” said Hallman. “If it doesn’t work out, the sheriff of Franklin County has called and offered me a job back there.”
Hallman stated he has enjoyed his time as Bear Creek’s police chief, a position he accepted after working at the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office for approximately 15 years.
Hallman did not like the politics involved in being police chief, whereas deputies just go out and “do their jobs,” Hallman stated.
“If it wasn’t for the politics, (police chief) would probably be a really good job,” he said.
Hallman stated the Town of Bear Creek had always been good to him, providing the department what it needed.
“I asked for something, didn’t get it. I don’t play politics and I don’t play games, so (if) you can’t give it to me, I have to do something else,” Hallman pointed out.
When asked if he will miss law enforcement, Hallman simply answered, “It may bother me a little bit but, if I can make the money that they are telling me I am going to make down there, I can put up with it. I believe I can cope with it for a while.”
Hallman stated he appreciated the time he has spent at Bear Creek and for the opportunity to serve as their chief.
“I think we have done a good job as far as cleaning up a lot of the drug activity around here and helping slow school traffic down. We had the town’s best interest in my mind while I was helping here.
“The town has been really great to me,” Hallman continued. “The citizens of Bear Creek have accepted me.”
Hallman concluded by wishing Collins the best.
Bear Creek mayor wishes Hallman well, explains resignation situation
Taylor wished Hallman well in his future endeavors.
“As far as Doug leaving us, it’s very unfortunate. I hate it,” Taylor said. “Doug was an extremely good chief. He did a wonderful job. I can’t say enough good things about him. I hope he does everything he is wanting to do.”
Taylor stressed that Hallman was hired in February, 2022, at an annual salary of $65,000 with Hallman receiving a $2,080 per year raise in July, 2022.
Hallman had recently asked for another raise, but, according to Taylor, did not specify the amount.
The town council decided to table the issue of giving Hallman another pay increase at their March 15, meeting.
“It never was declined. It was tabled. We didn’t act on it,” Taylor said. “The next morning at eight o’clock he gave his resignation, and the letter was placed on the city clerk’s desk.”
Hallman’s time as the town’s chief officially ending at 4 p.m. Thursday, March 30, Taylor explained.
Taylor welcomes Collins onboard
Concerning the selection of Collins as the town’s new police chief, Taylor added, “We made an excellent choice, and I think the future will be bright for us.”
The town interviewed five candidates for police chief, Taylor explained.
Taylor noted the deciding factor in selecting Collins was his experience.
“He has many years of experience in law enforcement,” said Taylor. “He has played a lot of roles in law enforcement, a lot of different ranks. I think he will be a good fit for our area.”
Haleyville City Council approves
Collins’ resignation as investigator with the Haleyville Police Department was approved by the Haleyville City Council at their Monday, March 27 meeting.
Haleyville Mayor Ken Sunseri commended Collins on his service to the city and wished him well.
“We’re sorry to lose an officer of Eddie’s caliber,” Sunseri stated. “He’s done a great job for us.
“However, this is a move that would enable him to have a higher salary, so we wish the best for him and his family,” Sunseri added.
Collins’ last day with the City of Haleyville was Friday, March 31, with plans to officially begin full-time with the town of Bear Creek on Monday, April 3.
A swearing-in ceremony will be held today, Wednesday, April 5, at 5:30 p.m., according to town officials.
Collins’ salary will be approved by the town council after the swearing-in ceremony, according to Taylor.
Collins brings experience to position
A 1990 graduate of Curry High School, Collins served in the U.S. Navy after graduation, then began what has become a career in law enforcement spanning over 20 years.
Collins was hired in 1995 as an officer with the Parrish Police Department, graduated from the law enforcement academy and later working as an officer for the Carbon Hill Police Department. From there, Collins went to the Walker County Sheriff’s Office as a deputy and later narcotics agent.
Collins took a break from law enforcement, going into business in 2005, for H&R Block.
Collins went back into law enforcement as an officer with the Haleyville Police Department, and served as investigator the past two years.
Collins has new ideas for Bear Creek
Collins noted he had known and worked with Taylor for years.
“I thought it was a good career move for me,” said Collins. “I have spoken to several people on the city council and the mayor, and they think it’s a good fit.”
Collins noted he had enjoyed working for the Haleyville Police Department and would look forward to opportunities of continuing his work with them.
“Chief (Rodney) Lewis and I are good friends,” Collins said. “I know if I call him and need something, he’ll do anything he can to help me, and vice versa.”
Collins also commended Sunseri for his support.
“The Town of Bear Creek needs some stability in the police department,” Collins said. “There is nothing wrong with any of the prior chiefs. They were all good people, but they have gone on to other places, where I don’t plan on leaving.
“I believe in community-oriented policing,” Collins added. “The more eyes and the more people working with you, if nothing than just an information source, makes it better.
“My office will be transparent,” Collins continued. “I want people to know what I am doing. We’re here to serve the Town of Bear Creek.”
Although still in the evaluation phase of his new job, Collins is looking ahead at some new ideas for the police department.
“Getting our town covered for 24 hours instead of having an on-call officer in the evening is my first priority,” Collins pointed out.
Collins wants the public to know he is there to assist them.
“Anyone who needs to come see me, I’ll be here,” he stated. “I want to help people.”
See complete story in the Northwest Alabamian.