The 84-year-old actor sat on an interview board for Alabama police recruits last week. The board also included law enforcement experts.
Freeman, a Mississippi native who owns property in Gulf Shores and spends time in the town of 12,000, was part of a seven-member panel that interviewed nine potential officers for the Gulf Shores Police Department, Deputy Chief Dan Netemeyer said Wednesday.
Residents are occasionally asked to participate in such panels, said Netemeyer.
The “Coming 2 America” actor volunteered for the task as he knows others who have helped out with the process.
“It was kind of a last minute thing, but he was an active participant,” Netemeyer said.
Freeman sat at a table asking questions with other interviewers including Netemeyer, the police chief, a criminal justice professor and others.
“He had a hat on, and he was kind of sitting back. When he introduced himself it was almost like an old ‘Candid Camera’ scene,” Netemeyer said.
The Oscar-winning actor is known for roles in “Invictus,” “Million Dollar Baby,” “The Shawshank Redemption” and more, but he’s also known for his instantly recognizable voice.
“It was that voice, the same one you hear in the movies,” noted Netemeyer.
The hiring process is not complete, the deputy cheif said, but at least some of the recruits likely will be offered jobs.
Freeman and Linda Keena, a University of Mississippi professor who also lives in Gulf Shores and helped with the interviews, recently donated $ 1 million to establish the Center of Evidence-Based Policing and Reform at the university.
“I’m not in the least bit for defunding the police,” Freeman said in an interview with Black Enterprise’s Selena Hill. “Police work is, aside from all the negativity around it, it is very necessary for us to have them and most of them are guys that are doing their job. They’re going about their day-to-day jobs. There are some police the never pulled their guns except in rage, that sort of thing. I don’t know.”
Fox News’ Andrew Mark Miller and The Associated Press contributed to this report