Community pleased with police presence


Even though one man said he was arrested recently without cause, the majority of midtown Mobile residents are happy with the police presence.

Mobile Police arrested Thomas Herder for what he calls no reason, Saturday, Feb 1.That arrest sparked an internal investigation within the Mobile Police Department brought forth by the mayor’s office. However, since the investigation is ongoing, FOX10 News is only hearing the side of Thomas Herder.

With that in mind, FOX10 News wanted to find out what others in midtown Mobile would do if they were confronted by the police. Ultimately, Midtown residents agree police presence is visible.

“Police patrol this area pretty good. They’re good at that,” said one resident.

Brian O’Donnel said “I’ve often seen police presence right riding through the neighborhood.

“I see the police every day. About two or three times in the neighborhood and on my street,” said Kristin Bearden.

Within an hour of talking with residents in midtown, near Murphy High School, FOX10 News saw several police cars patrolling the streets. Because of this presence, residents said they feel safer.

FOX10 News asked residents what if they were approached by an officer, much like the way Thomas Herder was on Saturday. After a verbal altercation with the officer, Herder was arrested for disorderly conduct. It was an arrested he said was uncalled for because the police did not tell him why he was being questioned.

“I was pretty appalled so I used some adjectives. It wasn’t particularly obnoxious,” said Herder.

“I would never have a problem. Of course it would depend on the specific interaction with the police officer. Was the officer polite? Was he respectful? I would not like to feel interrogated. You hope they’re out there to protect us. With that in mind I would always I would never have a problem,” said O’Donnell.

“What is a man walking his dog going to do, you know what I’m saying? But you see hoodlums with their pants down and stuff like that they’re the ones you ask questions. But not in good neighborhood,” said Terence Williams.

“I would probably be glad that the officer asked me that. I would rather an officer ask a question and find out what’s going on than not. Because I have children here and I just feel like just because you’re an ex-Marine, teacher or any upstanding profession doesn’t mean that you are above being questioned by law,” said Bearden.

Officer Terence Perkins of the Mobile Police Department told FOX10 News after the Mayor’s office heard about the arrest, a phone call was made to Chief James Barber. Herder works for the city.

“Once the chief was made aware of this allegation he launched an investigation as to what occurred. Police officers are required to have thick skin but if your contact is so erratic that it draws the attention of the general public, that is grounds of being arrested for disorderly conduct,” said Perkins.

FOX10 News received a statement from Chief of Staff Colby Cooper about the arrest. It says: “Tom Herder is someone both the Mayor and I know to be an upstanding member of the Mobile community.  We saw the traffic on social media detailing Tom’s incident and we asked Chief Barber to look into it from the MPD side. We communicated to Tom that we had engaged the Chief and we would work to understand the facts behind the incident.”

FOX10 News will continue to follow this story for you.

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