Mobile’s public safety director leaving to take job with Mobile County Juvenile Court

Published: May. 23, 2023 at 11:44 AM CDT
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MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - Public Safety Director Lawrence Battiste announced his resignation Tuesday to take a job with Mobile County Juvenile Court.

Mayor Sandy Stimpson said he had developed a “speed of trust” relationship with Battiste, dating to his tenure as assistant police chief and then police chief.

“It has been a long journey that I believe it has been spirit-led that the Lord has undergirded me in the process,” Battiste said at Tuesday’s City Council meeting. “But I also believe that there are other things that he has for me to do. And so, my journey leads me from the city of Mobile back to the youth court where I came from before I joined the city of Mobile.”

Battiste said his last day on the job will be June 9, and then he will start his deputy administrator of Mobile County Juvenile Court on June 12 where he’ll work closely with leadership.

“Trying to make sure we focus on what’s our mission and what is our goal and what do we hope to accomplish. Making sure that we do it in such a way and making sure everyone that we come in contact with feels empowered by what we’re able to do for them,” said Battiste.

He was earning more than $149,000 as public safety director. It was not immediately clear what his new salary will be, although he told reporters he will be taking a pay cut. Batistte says he’s excited for a chance to do something he’s passionate about.

“It’s an opportunity for me to continue to bridge the gap with working with our most volatile people in our community, our young people.”

Battiste worked at Strickland Youth Center early in his career before working his way up through the law enforcement ranks. That culminated in his promotion to public safety director when James Barber left the post to become Stimpson’s chief of staff.

As public safety director, Battiste oversees the Police Department and the Fire-Rescue Department.

Several council members praised Battiste’s service to the city.

“Our loss is their gain,” District 7 Councilman Gina Gregory said. “But you’re still serving the citizens of the city and the county.”

“He has been a great steward in public safety for quite some time,” said District 4 Councilman Ben Reynolds.

“Thank you and I know you’re going to achieve even higher things so thank you for your service,” said District 1 Councilman Cory Penn.

The city says because the announcement was just made today there are no immediate plans to fill the public safety director position but they say there will be much thought and consideration to filling it going forward.

Updated at 12:39 p.m. with additional information.

Battiste was earning more than $149,000 as public safety director. It was not immediately clear what his new salary will be.