Mobile council approves new police chief, public safety director

The Mobile City Council has approved the elevation of Mobile Police Chief James Barber to public safety director and Assistant Chief Lawrence Battiste to chief of police.

The moves came at a special Tuesday night council meeting, previously scheduled to take place at 6 p.m. at Holloway Elementary School in District 1 as part of the “Council in the Community” outreach campaign. An audience of about 90 people applauded Barber and Battiste after the motion passed, and the mood was generally congratulatory.

Stimpson Battiste Barber.jpgMobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson, left, and Police Chief James Barber, right, look on as Assistant Police Chief Lawrence Battiste speaks about Stimpson’s proposal to make him chief. Subject to city council approval, Stimpson has moved for Barber to become Mobile’s public safety director and for Battiste to be promoted. (Lawrence Specker/

“We do want to do something special when you all are sworn in,” said Council President Gina Gregory. “Congratulations. We look forward to working with both of you in your new capacities.”

The personnel shift began to take shape late Friday, when Stimpson announced he’d accepted the resignation of Public Safety Director Richard Landolt and wanted to move quickly in appointing Barber to the position, with Battiste, a former Prichard police who has been with the Mobile department for several years, rising to the chief’s position. At Tuesday morning’s preliminary organizational session, the council signaled that it was willing to move forward with rapid approval.Mobile City Council at Holloway elementary lfs.jpg

If the shifts at the police department were smooth, Tuesday night’s meeting brought more indications that the Stimpson administration intends to push changes at the Mobile Fire Rescue Department.

In his remarks before the council, Stimpson repeated a position stated Monday in a letter to MFRD: The MFRD instituted some raises in the current fiscal year without implementing cuts needed to pay for them and consequently will finish the year in the red if changes aren’t made. The mayor also reiterated that it is now a priority to find a fire chief for the department, which has been led by an assistant chief serving as acting chief since Stimpson took office.

Among those who addressed the council Tuesday was MFRD fire service driver and paramedic Matt Waltman, who also is Vice President of the Mobile Firefighters Association. Waltman said that administration officials had met with MFRD leaders, plus representatives of the Mobile Firefighters Association and the Professional Black Firefighters Association, in early February. At that point, Waltman said, the administration had made clear that it was concerned about the budget situation at MFRD.

Waltman said his organization had a variety of concerns, including staffing, training and the scope of the MFRD mission. He addressed some of them in brief, but said they deserved full consideration and requested that the council’s public safety committee hold a public hearing at which all interested parties could be represented.

“We’re appreciative that Mayor Stimpson has recommitted to finding us a fire chief. That’s going to be very important in the future for us,” Waltman said. “We’re one of the largest divisions in the city of Mobile, and we need someone at the helm.” He went on to say that MFRD need to know the plan for the future of the department and the services it provides.

Councilwoman Bess Rich, the chair of the council’s Public Safety Committee, said she looked forward to scheduling a meeting on the topic.

Among other business on the evening’s agenda was formal approval of a $2.8 million contract to build a new fire station in Crichton. District 1 Councilman Fred Richardson said he was very pleased to see the station on the verge of becoming a reality, and that it would include a community meeting room as he’d requested.

Richardson said the station would be a boon to a wide swath of Midtown. “It’s going to be great for all the citizens in that general area in terms of response time,” he said.


Apple iOS 11 public beta update released: How to download and install the update


It was at WWDC 2017 conference that Apple announced its new iOS software version iOS 11 and boy it was something exciting as it brought several new features and functionalities with it.

Well, if you have been waiting eagerly to try out the new software version and its features then there is some good news for you. The Cupertino-based tech giant is now releasing the first public beta version of iOS 11 for everyone. Also, it means that you can now download the update and experience the features hands-on. The download is free. Basically, the upgrade will take the software version to iOS 11 from your existing iOS 10.3.2 installation. The good thing here is that Apple has made it simple for you to downgrade back to the more stable iOS if you face any problems with iOS 11 or encounter a lot of bugs. But that is is the point of the beta versions. It’s usually to find the bugs as well as test new features on a large group of users. And while the company has released this version, we will be seeing a few more beta updates in the coming days.

Apple iOS 11 public beta update released: How to install the update

On the other hand, if you are planning to install this iOS beta update then make sure to back up all the data if you are using your primary smartphone. However, it is best advised that you should install the iOS beta on any other testing iPhone or iPad. This way, even if the smartphone crashes your data will be safe. How to get the new update? In any case, if you want to try out the new iOS 11 features then you can visit this website and register your compatible iOS device for the Beta program. So once you are done with all the formalities, you can update iOS like a normal software update. Well, you will have to install a configuration or public beta profile on your device. The instructions are provided by Apple. Then, you’ll have to go to the Settings app and update to iOS 11 Public Beta 1. It is mostly the same iOS 11 Beta 2 that developers got last week.

Finally, you will need to reboot your device and that’s it. You are ready to use the new iOS 11. So if you have downloaded the new beta update do let us know about the new features and what are the changes that you see.