Interview with Sheriff Mel Bailey
QUESTION 13
INTERVIEWER:

OK, LET'S JUST SORT OF PICK UP THE COMMENT YOU MADE WHEN WE WERE STOPPED, AND TELL ME WHAT [IS] YOUR OPINION OF LAURIE PRITCHETT COMING IN TO OFFER ADVICE TO BULL CONNOR?

Sheriff Melvin Bailey:

Well, I realize that the chief of police, Pritchett, had from over in Albany, had some successes with similar situations and he took it on himself to come here in attempt to talk to Commissioner Connor. As I recall earlier, that was like putting gas on fire for that to happen, you know. I say again, if he had called me I could have saved him a trip. I had difficulty talking to Commissioner Connor. This didn't serve up for any benefit to know that here's the sheriff who can't necessarily communicate with the commissioner of police of the city wherein the problem lies. Realize, I was furnishing the manpower to augment the Birmingham police because all the agencies in law enforcement wanted to help. I was hopeful their motive was pure and clean. And so they passed through this office and I communicated over to Chief Moore and put these people in place where we could maintain order. This, this is how I think that law enforcement must work. The innocent passerby, who has a feeling about this but does not want to go into the turmoil and the mainstream of it, they're just as entitled to protection as those who have the issue in their, so-called bit in their teeth, running with it. And we had a multisided duty to perform. Manpower was a real important factor. I kept it moving. Kept—