After 25 years with the Tuscaloosa Police Department and almost 11 at its head, TPD Chief Steve Anderson is retiring at the end of August to take a job with the University of Alabama System.

Anderson joined Mayor Walt Maddox to announce his decision to the Tuscaloosa City Council at a press conference Wednesday morning.

"I want to tell you, there's nothing negative about my leaving -- I am simply retiring after nearly 25 years of service to this police department and this community," Anderson said. "I'm retiring, but not going home to sit, I'm moving forward to other things that are a unique and amazing opportunity for me."

Maddox said he was appointing assistant chief Mitt Tubbs to fill the chief's office on an interim basis after Anderson retires on August 30th, but Tubbs said immediately that he would not seek the position permanently, as he is only four years away from retirement himself.

Reflecting on his career as chief, Anderson said he was proud of how TPD has grown, how it has adapted to rapidly changing technology and worked to integrate itself with the community. His biggest regret, he said, was that gun violence is still a major problem in Tuscaloosa, especially in the city's black communities.

"No matter what we've done over the years, no matter what kind of initiative we've rolled out, no matter how many people we have arrested and sent to prison, the cycle just continues to be vicious and it does not seem to be a cycle that we can break," Anderson said. "That is one of my biggest regrets, that's one of the things that has kept me up at night for almost 11 years -- how do we impress upon the young men and women of color in our community that are committing these heinous crimes, how do we combat that? How do we get them to see that there's a better path forward than the one they are taking?"

Although violent crime has seen a spike in the last several months, Maddox was quick to point out that in the 11 years that Anderson has been at the head of the police department, Tuscaloosa has seen an 18 percent reduction in the "big five" crimes of burglary, breaking & entering, robbery, automotive theft and murder.

"The fact of the matter is that the Tuscaloosa Police Department has done a damn fine job," Maddox said. "And they've done it under the leadership of Steve Anderson, and for that the city is thankful."

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