Lieutenant dedicates life to serving city
Lt. John Stringer may have grown up in Huntsville, but his calling was to serve the citizens of Madison. He has worked for the Madison Police Department for 15 years, but he knew long before then that he wanted to be in law enforcement.
“I have wanted to be a police officer for as long as I can remember,” Stringer said. “I grew up in a family with a large concentration of law enforcement officers in it—mostly my extended family. It’s something that I have always had a desire for and felt that it’s a calling to be a public servant.”
Stringer has been married to his wife Amanda for six years. He has three daughters—Emily, Keira and Kinsey.
He attended Lee High School and earned his bachelors’ degrees in psychology and English literature from the University of Alabama in Huntsville.
He has been a lieutenant for about one year.
Stringer recalled how much he appreciated his lieutenant, Scott Peake, when he was a sergeant.
“He gave me all of the tools, and all the encouragement and even all of the discipline that I needed to get to where I am right now,” Stringer said.
He said he also owes much of his success to the police officers who worked for him when he was a shift sergeant. He said he had some of the best police officers working for him.
“I hope that I was able to teach them,” Stringer said. “I hope I was able to provide them with some direction and guidance. Because the true measure of my success as a supervisor or as a leader will be how well they do in their life. I may never go above the rank of lieutenant, but if one of them becomes a captain, a major or a chief, then I’m a success.”
Stringer’s job now is mainly administrative.
“The Chief tasked me with beginning our first professional standards unit, which is internal affairs,” Stringer said. “That typically means that if there’s a complaint against an officer, it comes to me.”
He said if the complaint does not contain a criminal act, it remains as an internal inquiry. But if it is a criminal act, there would be a full-scale criminal investigation.
“When I’m not doing that kind of stuff, I’m rewriting the policies,” Stringer explained.
He works with other officers and supervisors to get their input on what direction the department’s policies need to go in order to bring them up to date. Revising policies gives officers good operational standards and guidelines to assist them in doing their job, Stringer explained.
“That translates into better service for the citizens,” Stringer said.
Another aspect of his job is that he has started the first community resource unit, which allows him to have a lot of interaction with the public. While the job involves problem-solving, he said he isn’t necessarily the one solving the problems. He acts more as a resource or go-between for the public and patrol officers.
“When I start hearing good things about our officers out there—and the fact that our citizens are pleased with the performance of the Madison Police Department—I get a kick out of that,” Stringer said. “Because that’s representative of what the Madison Police Department’s all about.”
In his free time Stringer enjoys practicing mixed martial arts, such as Tae Kwon Do and Yong Moo Do. Yong Moo Do, Stringer explained, involves striking, throwing and grappling. He said it’s a fun way to stay in shape and is a good challenge.
He also enjoys reading biographies. He said he particularly looks up to Theodore Roosevelt.
“I’ve always admired that era of rugged individualism in America and pulling yourself up by your bootstraps,” Stringer said. “There’s something that appeals to me about that noble pursuit of spending yourself in a worthy cause. And I think that perhaps outside of the military, there’s no more worthy cause than serving your fellow man as a law enforcement officer.”
Stringer said law enforcement is the best job in the world and that he can’t imagine working anywhere else.
“Madison has some of the best leadership, and we certainly have some of the best police officers in the world working for us,” Stringer said. “They’re go-getters, they’re professional, they’re thorough and these guys really care about what they do. I think maybe that’s the thing I’m most proud of—to be associated with men and women like that.”