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Bertram hires new police chief from within department

JARED FIELDS • PICAYUNE STAFF

BERTRAM — Bertram once again has a full-time police chief after the city council unanimously voted to promote from within to fill the position.

Sgt. Doug Wall, who served as the interim for the past six weeks, is the new chief.

“I appreciate everybody’s confidence and would like to thank you ver much. I’m honored,” Wall said.

Wall has four years of experience with the Bertram Police Department. He also served as the interim chief before Tracy Weems was hired in February 2013.

The council narrowed its list of finalists to two for the Aug. 12 council meeting: Wall and Ingleside Capt. James Loving. Council members asked the two men questions in open session and then deliberated for 30 minutes in executive session before reaching their decision.

“I will say it was a tough decision,” Mayor Dickie Allen said before the vote. “I don’t think we knew who it would be before tonight.”

Wall told the council during open session he wanted to be with Bertram well into the future.

“This is where I want to be no matter what happens. If elected, I would like to retire in 20 years as chief,” Wall said. “I know what the city wants and what it needs.”

The department has three full-time officers, including Wall, and one part-time code enforcement officer.

Wall said Loving would be a “great chief,” but he’s ready to get to work as the chief.

“It’s a big weight off my shoulders,” he said. “I can focus on the task at hand: hiring a new officer.”

Council members voiced their desire for the department to have officers on duty 24/7. Wall said it’s a department goal once a new officer is hired.

The department also expects to have a new building sometime next year.

jared@thepicayune.com

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