Alton officials speak after Board of Aldermen votes to not re-ap -

Alton officials speak after Board of Aldermen votes to not re-appoint police chief

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On the day after the Alton City Council voted 4-3 not to retain their current police chief, two aldermen came forward to speak about why they voted the way they did.

Both aldermen who agreed to speak to News 4 said they like Chief Jake Simmons, but one of them still voted against him.

"Most people in the 4th ward really like Chief Simmons and that's who I represent so I had to go along with their wishes,” said Alderwoman Alice Martin.

Martin added that she voted to re-appoint Simmons because he's an active member of the community who's helped reduce crime in Alton. She said the timing of the release of a video, which shows an officer pepper spraying two teenagers is suspicious. Ultimately, she says it did not affect her vote on Wednesday night.

"I think a lot of things that happen in the Alton Police Department has been hidden from Chief Simmons and when he finds things out he usually stumbles upon them. It's not really, from what I've heard, really reported to him one on one,” she said.

Ward 5 Alderman Charles Brake stated that's partly why he voted not to re-appoint Simmons.

“He has a divided department which is in my opinion not going to ever work until he works hard to get the entire group which is now divided in half back to being a team,” said Brake.

Brake said he spoke with several police officers before Wednesday's vote. He added that they all pointed out that morale is low within the department.

"If he can get the force back to being a team, he'd make a good chief. Until that time, I don't consider him adequate to be chief of the department," Brake said.

Despite the vote, the police chief will stay on. The power to re-appoint him lies with the mayor, who said he backs Simmons.

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