Anniston's Chief McGrady retiring after 35 years, 29 with local department
by Rachael Griffin
rgriffin@annistonstar.com
Jan 31, 2013 | 4963 views |  0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Police Chief Layton McGrady, shown at a civic club meeting in January 2012,  will retire from the Anniston Police Department Feb. 8. Until a new chief is named, the department will look to Capt. Shane Denham as interim chief. (Anniston Star photo by Stephen Gross)
Police Chief Layton McGrady, shown at a civic club meeting in January 2012, will retire from the Anniston Police Department Feb. 8. Until a new chief is named, the department will look to Capt. Shane Denham as interim chief. (Anniston Star photo by Stephen Gross)
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Police Chief Layton McGrady will wear his badge for one more week before retiring from 29 years of protecting the city of Anniston.

Last week McGrady, 55, announced his last day working at the Anniston Police Department will be Feb. 8. He said he’s ready to retire after 35 years as a police officer.

“I think it’s a good time to go,” McGrady said.

McGrady said he decided to retire for financial reasons. He received the last raise he was eligible for in November when he reached his 29th year of service.

Before coming to Anniston, McGrady was chief at the Rockford Police Department in Coosa County.

“I was chief when I came here and had to work my way back up,” McGrady said.

In 2010, McGrady was named chief of the Anniston Police Department after serving as interim chief for two months when John Dryden retired.

Knowing from experience how long it can take for a new police chief to be named, McGrady said he believes it could be close to a month before his successor is chosen.

Capt. Richard Smith’s retirement earlier this month opened up room in the Police Department for several promotions. McGrady’s retirement also lends itself to changes within the department.

Lt. Josh Doggrell, a former sergeant in the investigative division, was promoted to lieutenant commanding officer of a patrol shift. Doggrell said his position change came after Allen George was promoted from lieutenant to captain.

Doggrell said there have been a lot of changes within the department, including several other promotions, in a short period of time.

“Any time you lose that kind of experience, I think you’re always going to have some growing pains,” Doggrell said.

Sudden changes like these usually involve “having some people step up and get acclimated quickly to new things,” Doggrell said.

Capt. George, who now oversees the uniform patrol division, said he’s always considered McGrady a mentor.

“His mentality is one of doing what he always thought best for the officers,” George said.

George said he’s worked for McGrady in some capacity for the entirety of his 19-year career.

According to George, McGrady loves jokes and enjoys having fun, but when it came down to business he always put being an officer of the law first.

“One of the best things I think every leader needs to possess in this business is still being a cop at heart,” George said. “He’s still a cop.”

George said he’s confident the city manager will pick the best candidate for the job when it comes to choosing one of three captains eligible to be the new chief.

City Manager Don Hoyt said the three eligible captains will need to pass a written test. Hoyt will be given the test scores and each candidate will be called in for an interview, the city manager said. After these steps are taken, Hoyt will choose McGrady’s successor.

When asked how long the entire process could take, Hoyt said he was unsure especially since the Civil Service Board secretary is retiring, too.

“That’s going to be a snag in the process,” Hoyt said.

Until a new chief is named, the Anniston Police Department will look to Capt. Shane Denham as interim chief, Hoyt said.

McGrady said the three captains eligible to become chief are Bill Wilburn, Chris Roberson and Shane Denham. The chief described the test each captain will take as in-depth and covering a wide variety of subjects.

McGrady said the job has given him more memories than he can count and some that he would like to forget. Retirement has McGrady looking forward to camping and traveling with his wife. “I’m going to basically take it easy for a while,” he said.

Staff Writer Rachael Griffin: 256-235-3562. On Twitter @RGriffin_Star.
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