Bill Myers

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William R. Myers (born c. 1930) was Chief of the Birmingham Police Department from 1978–1981 and served four terms on the Birmingham City Council, from 1981 to 1993.

As a captain, Myers was one of the few officers lauded by African-American community leaders for engaging with black citizens. He was recognizable for his 6'-3" frame and red hair. He was promoted to deputy chief and director of operations.

"Booger Red", a horse donated to the police department by the Five Points West Merchants Association for the newly-created Mounted Patrol Division in 1978, was named in Myers' honor.

Mayor David Vann appointed Myers chief on October 13, 1978 following the resignation of Jim C. Parsons. As chief, Myers was faced early on with a crisis caused by the fatal shooting of Bonita Carter by Officer George Sands at a convenience store in Kingston in June 1979. Myers brought City Councilman Richard Arrington, Jr to the scene to try to calm the crowd without the threat of more police violence. Vann's refusal to call for Sands' firing opened the way for Arrington's successful campaign for Mayor that fall.

Though Myers and Arrington held each other in esteem, their respective positions at a time when police accountability was a major issue, made it difficult for them to cooperate publicly. The Fraternal Order of Police viewed Arrington's orders, aimed at reducing police brutality, as interference in departmental matters. Myers was increasingly seen as an ineffective advocate for the department. The issue came to a head over the mayor's refusal to allow for Sands' reinstatement, and Myers resigned effective January 16, 1981. He was subsequently hired as head of security for Carraway Methodist Medical Center.

Before Myers ran for his fourth term, the City Council elections were divided by district. He won his race in the 1989 election to represent District 1.

Preceded by:
Jim C. Parsons
Chief of Birmingham Police Department
1978-1981
Succeeded by:
Arthur Deutsch
Preceded by:
elected at-large
Birmingham City Council District 1 Representative
1989-1993
Succeeded by:
Byron Davis

References