I have known Ron Latimer 13 years, since the first day I stepped into The Sentinel office and took over the police beat.
We’re not boys or best friends, and we don’t hang out. However, we’ve always had a good working relationship and never had an issue.
A couple of weeks ago Ron and I sat down and talked about how things were going since he was named interim Scottsboro police chief.
A couple of days later, in this very space, I wrote and endorsing column about why he was the right man for the permanent job.
Today, I stand by that column. Obviously, it’s news if a public figure is arrested. In Marshall County last Saturday night, Latimer was arrested and charged with operating a vessel under the influence. He spent the night in the Marshall County Jail.
Since then, Latimer has been placed on paid administrative leave.
Details of the arrest haven’t been released. I’ve heard some stories, but nothing official.
In this day and age, especially with social media, it’s quick to rush to judgement. But innocent until proven guilty is still the rule of the law. Guilty or not guilty, Latimer probably shouldn’t have placed himself in that position last Saturday night.
But this guy has given 28 years of service, over half of his life, to the city of Scottsboro. I’ve never heard one bad word about him. He didn’t commit a felony or have a domestic violence charge hanging over his head.
We’re all human. We all make mistakes. Latimer’s service speaks for itself.
Regardless how this shakes out, guilty or exonerated, Latimer deserves his chance as police chief. Hopefully, the ones who make that decision will make the right one.
The man has earned it.
DeWayne Patterson is the editor and publisher of The Sentinel. He can be reached by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.