Bessemer Police Chief Nathaniel Rutledge has announced that he is stepping down as the city’s top law enforcement officer effective Sept. 1, 2017.
Chief Rutledge, who has served in the position for 14 years, received complimentary words from Mayor Kenneth Gulley and members of the Bessemer City Council as well as a standing ovation from all in attendance after his retirement was announced at the July 11 City Council meeting.
“I always have felt in this business that you need to know when to say when” Rutledge said. “A person can stay too long.
“It’s just time. I have been doing this for 29 years. It’s just time to take a look at other opportunities that may come my way and hopefully, they will give me more freedom to be there for my kids as they grow older.”
Rutledge has been a very public Police Chief in the city of Bessemer. Major crime in the city has dropped by double digits over the last five years, including a 15 percent drop in 2016.
In addition to his local duties and administration of the Bessemer Police force, Rutledge has served on the US Attorney Office’s Law Enforcement Advisory Committee, graduated from the FBI Academy, served as president of the Alabama Association of Chiefs of Police, president of the Child Policy Council of Jefferson County and president of the Bessemer/West Jefferson Literacy Council.
A strong advocate for improved relations between police and the public, Rutledge spearheaded such initiatives as the Coffee with a Cop in Bessemer and worked with local ministers to hold a prayer vigil in July 2016 to bring the community together in the aftermath of officer-involved shootings incidents across the nation.
He has been an avid supporter of the Boy Scouts of America and was instrumental in the city’s annual 9/11 observances and Flag Retirement observances.
Rutledge began his career with the Lee County Sheriff’s Office. A graduate of Auburn University, he also worked for the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office and for the Fairfield Police Department before joining the Bessemer Police Department.
“God has blessed us to be successful in this endeavor and I have joy from making a difference in the lives of a lot of people,” he said.
“We truly thank Chief Rutledge for his service to the citizens of Bessemer,” said Mayor Kenneth E. Gulley. “He’s served 29 years in law enforcement and we wish him well in his retirement and his future endeavors. May God bless him and his family.”
To read more about Rutledge and his retirement, click the link of a story done by AL.com.