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Mobile Co. Sheriff Cochran defends Rep. Stringer dismissal over constitutional carry — ‘Philosophy that he had just didn’t comport with mine or my staff members’

Last week, Mobile County Sheriff Sam Cochran removed State Rep. Shane Stringer (R-Citronelle) from the position of captain, reportedly for taking a pro-constitutional carry stance that contradicted the stated position on the issue of Cochran and other law enforcement throughout the state.

Cochran has faced somewhat of a backlash for his decision. However, he maintains he was justified in doing so.

During an interview with Mobile radio FM Talk 106.5’s “Midday Mobile,” Cochran told host Sean Sullivan that given Stringer’s position was a political position, he was within his right to terminate Stringer’s employment with the department.

“In Mobile County, when you’re elected sheriff, you’re allowed to make five appointments,” he said. “So you appoint five people. You can call them political appointments if you will — but people to be on your staff to follow your same philosophy, to help you develop policy and procedures and stuff, and how you’re going to be. When somebody is on your staff, you’re supposed to be a team together. I had a right to make that appointment. I feel I also have the right to make sure I have somebody that has my same or the staff’s philosophy. Me and Shane have been friends for many, many years, worked together. He last worked for me before this time as a sergeant with the sheriff’s office. Then he left and became chief in Citronelle, then he left and went to Satsuma. We continued to work together.”

“As best I know, all those years as chief of police, he was opposed to constitutional carry, and even open carry all those years,” Cochran continued. “And even his first year in the legislature, when he was working for me — he fought against these same bills. But over the last two years, he’s evolved and has changed his philosophy, and I guess you could say political position on it. … Three weeks ago, he introduced a bill. There was already a bill saying the same thing. But he introduced another bill, and I thought, ‘Wow, this is kind of interesting.’ But, I guess, quite frankly, what kicked it off was he came home and at Fowl River, was at a political event, and was talking about how he tried to get constitutional carry passed and didn’t get it this year. Will hopefully get it next year, and sayings it’s not a constitutional right to have to pay a fee, or something, for a gun.”

“Well, this philosophy that he had just didn’t comport with mine or my staff members, and we’re a team,” he added. “Now, if he were still a sergeant, rank-and-file, or not a political appointee, I wouldn’t have had a problem with it. That’s his right. But if he’s going to be part of my team, working for and going against our position and the sheriffs association position. The sheriffs association has a lobbyist arguing against a bill up there, and Shane is in that committee and votes against us. And again, I get it from law enforcement and police chiefs — what is Shane doing. He’s changed.”

Cochran said the conflict in opinions on the constitutional carry issue meant a team member was working against him and his staff.

“[W]e have our political differences,” he said. “I feel very strongly about it, and I think he feels very strongly in the opposite direction. I don’t think it is right to have a team member going against the role of the administration.”

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and the University of South Alabama, the editor of Breitbart TV, a columnist for Mobile’s Lagniappe Weekly, and host of Mobile’s “The Jeff Poor Show” from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. on FM Talk 106.5.