Birmingham hosts first Public Safety Task Force public input meeting

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — On Thursday, Birmingham residents gave their thoughts on the changes needed to improve public safety, including changes needed to the police department.

The Public Safety Task Force was created in mid July. Since then, several meetings have been held, but Thursday marked the first public input meeting.

Residents that signed up to speak covered an array of topics. A recurring issue was a proposal to create a police oversight board for incidents pertaining to officer-involved injuries.

“The review board shall have real authority to reprimand, suspend, or terminate an offending officer based on a majority vote,” said Jamaine Stanton as he outlined his plan to establish a review board for the police.

Birmingham Police Chief Patrick Smith attended the meeting. He said many people are not aware of the checks and balances his department faces.

“The decisions, such as officer disciplines, they go through a Jefferson county personnel board, where it’s then reviewed,” said Smith.

A powerful testimony was given to advocate for more education surrounding human trafficking. Jasmain Sanders said her daughter was a victim of human trafficking. She wants other parents to have the tools she didn’t, to stay a step ahead.

“I’m here to ask you guys to start up a program, work with people like myself who have been impacted by these thing,” said Sanders. “Don’t wait until it’s your child for it to happen to you.”

Some of the recommendations ask for city dollars, others just ask for the city to be a partner. The task force is expected to present Mayor Randall Woodfin with their 90-day report next week.


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