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Warren latest candidate to join police chief race

A former Brookhaven Police Department officer qualified on Friday to seek the police chief post, making that race the first of the upcoming municipal elections to start attracting a crowd.

     Larry Warren, who served 28 years with BPD, qualified Friday as a Democratic police chief candidate.

     He said it’s a job he’s been interested in pursuing since “day one” on the force.

     “I think I am very capable of doing the job,” Warren said.

     So far, Warren is facing off against fellow Democrat Bobby Bell, Brookhaven’s current assistant police chief, who also has a long record with BPD, 31 years.

     Whoever triumphs in the Democratic primary will run against the Republican candidate.

     So far, only Ted Goleman is seeking the GOP nod. Goleman’s a former highway patrol trooper and can also boast a long career in law enforcement, 23 years.

     Warren offered a mixed assessment of the BPD’s current status.

     “Some things are good, some things are not,” he said.

     Changes would be coming to the department if he were elected, Warren said. Equipment upgrades, more officers and better pay are needed, he said.

     He did acknowledge, though, that the department’s budget, set by city aldermen, imposes restrictions on what can be done.

     To combat what he sees as increasing crime in Brookhaven, Warren said he wants greater visibility of law enforcement on the streets.

     The Montgomery, Ala., native moved to Brookhaven in 1977.

     In 2009, Warren retired from the force and currently works at Walmart in Brookhaven. He feels he’s got a strong ability to interact with people and pointed to this as a strength of his candidacy.

     “I love intermingling with the public,” he said. “I think I can deal with the public a lot better.”

     The newest Democratic hopeful said he’d be “fair, firm and friendly” as chief.