The City of Alton held a City Council meeting Wednesday, May 13, that attracted the interest of the community and media due to the important topics discussed, including the reappointment of the Alton Police Chief, Jason A. Simmons.
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The Council Chamber floor was full, attendees sitting on the ground, standing against each wall and crowding the hallway. There was approximately 150-200 citizens in all, to include many police officers both in support of and opposed to the reappointment of Chief of Police.
After a handful of speakers expressively announced their opinions of Simmons, the city council voted to decline the decision to reappoint Simmons as Chief of Police for another year. Following a 4 to 3 vote in favor of not reappointing Simmons, Mayor Walker stood at the podium to address the Council.
“I hereby exercise my right as Mayor to retain Jake Simmons as Police Chief,” said Walker. “I have no intention of removing him from office, nor do I have any intention of nominating anyone else for the position.”
According to Title 3, Chapter 3, Section 2A of the Alton City Code, “the chief of police shall continue to serve until removed by order of the mayor or until successor shall be appointed and qualified, whichever shall occur first.”
Although Simmons is dissatisfied with the outcome of the vote, he stands strong in his determination to move forward.
“Obviously I am disappointed with the vote tonight,” said Simmons in a statement letter. “I do want to thank Mayor Walker, city staff, Alderman Martin, Boulds, Macafee and the community, for their support. I will continue to move the department in the right direction... The Alton Police department is a wonderful agency with many professional officers who are dedicated to the betterment of the city. I will continue to work diligently to build bridges in the community... My goal is to work toward public unity and improve police relations within the city of Alton. Again, Alton is a great city with a great future. When we start to work together to solve problems and improve relationships, unity will occur and everyone will see real changes in our city.”