“With the support of my family and with members of the Jasper Police Department standing with me, I gladly accept the position of police chief of the City of Jasper,” Rowe said after council members had offered her the job at the special called meeting.
Rowe will officially start with JPD Friday and will take over as chief on July 6, which is retiring police chief Danny Patton’s expected final day. Rowe, an investigator with the Walker County District Attorney’s Office, asked the Council for a “liberal” schedule until the time she assumes control of the department to wrap up obligations at her current office.
Walker County District Attorney Bill Adair said Rowe was the perfect person for the job.
“The City of Jasper has just gained one of the best law enforcement officers there is,” he said. “She is an administrative extraordinaire. She will do a fantastic job, and I look forward to working with her to combat crime in our area.”
Along with offering the job to Rowe, council members also determined her salary at $58,380.85. Council member Johnny Rollins said that would be a substantial cut in pay from Rowe’s current job.
“Some things are more important than money,” Rowe said. “This is where I need to be. This is where I want to be, and I think taking the cut in salary makes that even more obvious.”
Rowe said her goal for the police department is simple.
“I want to use this opportunity to make JPD a very good department that serves its citizens well,” she said.
The hiring is historic for Jasper, as Rowe is the city’s first female police chief.
“My gender has never had a great impact on my law enforcement career,” she said. “It has never hindered me and I certainly hope it is not the reason that I was hired. I’m proud to be the first woman police chief in the city, but that will not be what defines my time here.”
Adair said the hiring of a woman police chief is significant for the city.
“As a father of three girls, I’m proud to be a citizen of a city that has taken a step forward to allow a woman to break this glass ceiling,” he said.
Council members also voted to allow Joe Downs, a Jasper accountant, to submit a proposal for a possible audit of the police department.
“Any time there is a transition from one administration to another, establishing a baseline is a good idea,” Rowe said. “I thought an audit would be appropriate. I would like time to get into the department and see what areas may need looking into. We don’t want to look at things that we don’t need to look into and we don’t want to overlook other areas.”
In other action at the meeting, the Council approved the city’s participation in the annual statewide Sales Tax Holiday, which will be Aug. 5-7. City clerk Kathy Chambless said today is the final day for the city to give the state notice it will participate in the event.