Ron Latimer has spent 28 years at the Scottsboro Police Department, 26 years side by side with Ralph Dawe.
On June 1, Dawe retired as police chief after 14 years. On that same day, Latimer was appointed interim police chief.
Still, for a few weeks, it felt strange with Dawe not being around. Latimer has remained in his office, rather than transitioning to the chief’s office. But make no mistake, that’s where he plans and hopes to go soon.
“This is something I want to do,” said Latimer. “I am ready to do it.”
Following Tuesday’s election, a permanent police chief will be appointed in November. Until then, Latimer will do his job, like he has the past 28 years. Since 2007, Latimer has served as police major, second in command under Dawe.
Since June, Latimer said he has taken on a few extra duties that Dawe handled.
“Now it’s my responsibility,” he said. “I learned a tremendous amount under Ralph. I saw how he ran things and handled things.”
With the COVID pandemic in full swing since his first day in his new position, Latimer said keeping everyone safe is his main concern.
“We have to deal with people,” he said. “We’ve made some adjustments like taking reports over the phone and limiting access to the building.”
Latimer said his day-to-day duties are still similar. He said keeping the police department updated, such as vehicles, computers, equipment and training is key.
A native of South Florida, Latimer joined the Scottsboro Police Department a few months after graduating from the University of Alabama. He started as a police officer, and 10 months later, was promoted to investigator. He worked his way up to captain before becoming major.
It took a few weeks for it to sink in, becoming interim police chief and being without his former boss.
“You just have to pick up the responsibilities and duties,” said Latimer. “You have to keep this thing moving forward.”