City of Birmingham

Birmingham Police Chief Patrick Smith Resigns, Citing Personal Matters

Birmingham Police Chief Patrick Smith. (Source: Solomon Crenshaw Jr.)

Birmingham Police Chief Patrick Smith resigned Friday, saying he wanted to focus on personal matters.

Birmingham Mayor Randall L. Woodfin appointed Capt. Scott Thurmond, a 23-year veteran on the force, to replace Smith on an acting basis, according to a statement issued by the mayor’s office.

In a letter to Woodfin on Friday, Smith resigned effective Feb. 25, but he asked to be put on administrative leave with pay until then to allow him to conclude some personal business and to allow for a smooth transition to new leadership.

“I am grateful for the service of former Chief Smith,” Woodfin said in his statement. He touted Smith for launching the city’s Real Time Crime Center; increasing the number of police academies held to recruit officers; shifting to a four-day, 10-hour work week for officers; and establishing crime control meetings to analyze and assess major crime activities in each precinct.

Smith, who was appointed chief in 2018, was the subject of a no confidence vote in May by the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #1’s executive board and board of trustees.

Woodfin was running for re-election at the time, and his campaign issued a statement supporting Smith despite the no confidence vote. “This secret, politicized vote means absolutely nothing and only serves to give a platform to anti-reform police executives who are fear mongering over increased accountability,” the statement read.

Birmingham Police Capt. Scott Thurmond was named acting chief of the department 1.28.2022. (Source: Mayor’s Office)

Thurmond, 47, has worked in several precincts and in executive leadership with the department, according to the statement from the mayor’s office. Under his leadership, the West Precinct in 2020 launched a task force that removed five to 10 guns off the streets each week and focused on following up on cases, which resulted more cases being solved. During that time, the precinct had a 25% reduction in crime, according to the statement.

“I have every confidence in the leadership of Acting Chief Thurmond,” Woodfin said in his statement. “He has a history of innovation, strength and humility. Acting Chief Thurmond will be a bridgebuilder for our residents and police force. He is the right man to help keep our community safe.”

Thurmond began his career in the patrol division and rose to commander of the homicide unit, captain in the West Precinct and, most recently, executive assistant to the deputy chief of the Investigative Bureau.

He said in Woodfin’s statement that he was honored to be chosen as acting chief. “I know there will be challenges, but I am excited and ready to serve,” he said. “As a department, we are committed to providing the high level of services our community members expect and deserve.”