DeKalb County Public Safety Director Cedric Alexander is resigning after a term in which he rose to national prominence as an advocate for improved relationships between police and their communities.
Alexander said in a statement Wednesday he’ll step down at the end of March.
“After 40 years, it’s time for a break,” Alexander said. “I’ve worked very hard at bringing law enforcement and community closer together, and I believe great strides have been made.”
Alexander spoke frequently on CNN and other news networks about shootings involving police officers, saying they need to be handled openly and honestly.
He dealt with several police shootings of unarmed men during his tenure. A grand jury brought criminal charges in one of those cases, in which Officer Robert Olsen allegedly shot and killed Anthony Hill, an unarmed and naked man who suffered from bipolar disorder.
Alexander urged police departments to confront bad news and hold themselves accountable to the public.
He was a member of President Barack Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing, which recommended training officers on use of force and de-escalation techniques.
Alexander was hired as DeKalb’s police chief in April 2013 and became the county’s public safety director in February 2014, overseeing police, fire, 911 and emergency services.
He was a finalist for the Chicago police superintendent job last year, but Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel instead chose Eddie Johnson, who was the city police department’s chief of patrol.
He previously served as the president of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, federal security director for the Transportation Security Administration and police chief in Rochester, New York.
Alexander said he wants to spend more time with his aging mother.
Alexander has frequently spoken about the need for increased police transparency.
He told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in December that police should make body cameras available to the public and post use-of-force information online.
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