PELHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Dozens of Pelham residents convened at the city’s Civic Center for a community information forum in reaction to the Black Lives Movement.
While the city has had just one officer-involved incident in the past two decades, residents and community leaders felt it’s their job to keep Pelham safe for everyone. During the event, which was hosted by the Standing United for Progress, topics like police de-escalation training and transparency were focal points of discussion.
Earnest Pitts attended the event with his wife. He said he wanted to become a part of the solution.
“There’s a lot more that goes into making any community better,” Pitts said. “The most open path towards reconciliation is going to be through dialogue.”
Kenneth Paschal, state president for the Alabama Family Rights Association, organized the public forum and said it takes work to keep the city’s officer-involved incident statistics down.
“We’ve only had one deadly encounter actually in the history of Pelham between citizens and police officers,” Paschal said. “We don’t want to brag about that, we want to look at what can we continue to do…”
Police chief Patrick Cheatwood said his ability to do his job depends on the community’s trust and that the department will be posting a series of videos to it’s Facebook page to address residents’ concerns.
“We want to get as many videos as we can out there to just inform the public on what we do, why we do it, and to answer questions,” Cheatwood said.
The information gathered at the forum will be presented to the city council July 6.
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