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News & Politics
The Political Round-Up

By Chip Drago
Mobile Bay Times

Mobile Police Chief Sam Cochran is a likely entry in next year's race for sheriff of Mobile County, leaving an opening for Mayor Sam Jones and the city council to install a new leader atop the city police department.

Cochran has put together an "exploratory
committee" to assess his political prospects
which his supporters have described as
"encouraging" and "very promising." Cochran
said he would comment at the appropriate
time, probably soon after the holidays.

Cochran would join a crowded field of
candidates to succeed retiring Mobile County
Sheriff Jack Tillman. Tillman, beset by a whirlwind of charges and criticism stemming from his handling of the department's food fund, has confided privately to friends and supporters that he almost certainly will not run for a fourth term in office. The sheriff is slated to be tried on charges related to the food fund next year. Tillman was first elected sheriff in 1994.

Chief Deputy Mark Barlow, deputy sheriff Kyle Callaghan, former police officer John Graham, deputy sheriff and Mobile County School Commissioner Lonnie Parsons and former Mobile police officer and ex-Chief Deputy James Mayo have all been mentioned in connection with the sheriff's race in 2006.

Major Phillip Garrett is the frontrunner to succeed Cochran at the helm of the Mobile  Police Department, according to local law
enforcement sources.

Other "in-house" possibilities for the chief's
post include Major David Wilhelm, Major
Joseph Kennedy, Major Curley Rogers,
Captain James Barber and Captain
Prentiss Lawson. Neither Deputy Chief
Lester Hargrove, 68, nor Deputy Chief
Frank Sullivan, who is set to retire in March,
are considered a long term answer to lead the
department.   

With about 30 years on the city police force, Cochran, 51, is vested in the city's retirement system. Cochran has tentatively engaged media consultant Scott Rye to advise his campaign.

The police chief is appointed by the mayor with the confirmation of the City Council.

Political season at Double Gates    
Ex-state Conservation Director and Democratic political insider Riley Boykin Smith's annual party for the politically prominent at his hunting preserve in north Mobile County was held last week. Among those in attendance were ex-Govs. Jim Folsom Jr. and Don Siegelman, Circuit Judges Rick Stout, Jim Wood and Pam Millsaps, Probate Judge Don Davis, District Attorney John Tyson, former presiding Judge Braxton Kittrell, Sheriff Jack Tillman, school board and sheriff's department attorney Jim Atchison, Thompson Engineering's Henry Seawell and retiring state Sen. Hap Myers.

New County Administrator
Mobile County Probate Judge Don Davis is expected to appoint by Jan. 1 a new county administrator from a field of 16 applicants.

The current administrator, Anna Belle Newman, will retire Jan. 15.

The post had formerly been an elected office. The county administrator handles estate matters in special circumstances. The administrator is compensated by fees and commissions deriving from the assigned cases. Mrs. Newman will continue to handle the cases already under her purview.

Crosby hopes to lead state bar 
Baldwin County attorney Sam Crosby will be a candidate for president of the Alabama State Bar Association next year.

Crosby, 54, a partner in the Baldwin County firm of Stone, Granade and Crosby, recently confirmed his bid for the bar presidency. Crosby received his law degree from the University of Alabama School of Law.

The election will be held in May 2006. The president-elect's term will begin July 2007. There has not been a state bar president from south Alabama in about eight years.


Cochran
Garrett