I sat down with Ron Latimer earlier this week to talk about how things are going. It still feels a little strange walking in the Scottsboro Police Department and not seeing or shaking hands with Ralph Dawe.

It’s a little strange for Latimer, too, as we talk about taking a picture and he says, “we can go to Ralph’s office,” before he catches himself.

Soon, Ralph’s office should be Latimer’s office, as the police chief of the department. Right now, Latimer still has the “interim” tag that he received on June 1 after Dawe retired.

Latimer will remain interim chief until November, when Jim McCamy takes over as mayor and new city council is set. Obviously, anything can happen, but it will be major shame if Latimer is not appointed as chief.

Latimer grew up on the beach in South Florida, where he was star quarterback in high school before an injury curtailed a dream his senior year. Still, he went to the University of Alabama, walked on the football team, and played for two years before walking away from it to focus on school.

At Alabama, he graduated and met his future wife, Lana. Latimer grew up wanting to be in law enforcement, just like his father.

He joined the Scottsboro Police Department in October 1992. Latimer spent 10 months as a police officer before then police chief Keith Smith called him into his office one day. Smith put Latimer’s fears to rest, as he wondered what he had done to be called into the chief’s office. Smith promoted Latimer to the investigation unit.

The average time for an officer on the road to move up is three years. For Latimer, he took only 10 months.

Through the years, Latimer continued to move up, all the way to major, under Dawe, in 2007. His talents could’ve taken him anywhere, but he chose to stay in Scottsboro to raise his family and be part of the community.

Latimer is a major asset in Scottsboro, not only at the police department, but in the community. He has more than earned his position today. Now, we just need “interim” removed.

DeWayne Patterson is the editor and publisher of the Sentinel. He can be reached by email to dewayne.patterson@jcsentinel.com. 

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