MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — WKRG News 5 sat down exclusively with Mobile’s Police Chief after a now-former officer’s arrest. Jacob Matthews resigned from the department on Wednesday, just before he was taken into custody and charged with domestic violence.
Mobile Police Chief Paul Prine said, “We’re not above the law, that we have to adhere and live by the same set of rules and laws that the community lives by.”
Chief Prine told WKRG News 5 he doesn’t tolerate misconduct from his officers. He said, “Officers are no different from anybody else in the community. You’ve heard me say that we are members of the community and our men and women are not without their own personal problems as well.”
Jacob Matthews is charged with domestic violence, strangulation, and suffocation. He previously worked for Mobile Police for about four and a half years and was even an employee of the month for the department in 2021.
“We have high ethical standards for our police officers, and I want the community to know that even officers, unfortunately sometimes make mistakes. In some cases such as this, it may even cost a job,” said Prine.
Prine said the department takes every accusation against officers seriously and investigates each allegation. He also spoke about a program by the department to stay ahead of possible misconduct.
He said, “And certainly, if it comes to our attention, there are things that we can put in place, such as the early warning system where we can get officers help regardless of what the situations are that we can kind of help them get through that situation.”
Prine continued, “There are early indicators for officers that are having performance issues.”
Explaining what those issues could be, he said, “And it could be an officer self-reporting that, you know, there is an issue. It could be domestic violence issues, financial problems.”
“What this does is allow the leadership within the department to get involved with this officer and help them through that process, to be able to get through it and become productive again in regards to their performance and their behavior,” continued Prine.
Prine said while the administrative investigation against Matthews is over because he resigned, the criminal investigation is ongoing.
Matthews is out of jail on a $7,500 bond.