Fairhope council names Stephanie Hollinghead as interim police chief


Last week, the Fairhope City Council voted unanimously to approve Lt. Stephanie Hollinghead as the city’s interim police chief, the first female to hold the position of chief in the city’s history.

Four candidates appeared before the Fairhope City Council Aug. 24 to possibly fill the role of the city’s interim police chief.

Hollinghead, Sergeant Shane Leiser, Sergeant Craig Sawyer and Sergeant Julie Joyner were the four candidates who applied for the job, which the council mandated had to be filled by internal applicants.

Each applicant received a 45-minute interview with the council members, and were asked a variety of questions including describing their potential goals for the department, what they thought the biggest challenge for the job would be, what their qualifications were and what they would change about the department.

The four candidates were also asked questions about issues facing the city, including downtown speeding issues, the size of the police jurisdiction and how to combat drugs in the area.

Following the interviews, the council went into executive session to discuss the interviews and who they thought might be the best fit for the position.

City Council President Jack Burrell said the term for the interim chief would be six months, giving both the interim chief and the council time to see if the position would be a good fit.

Burrell said he and the council members felt Hollinghead was undoubtedly the right person for the job.

“The decision was unanimous for Lt. Hollinghead,” Burrell said. “We’re very excited to have her leading the department.”

Hollinghead replaces retired Chief Joseph Petties, who left the position Aug. 10. Hollinghead had been selected by Petties to help run the department between his departure and the time the council appointed an interim chief.