BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — As the country deals with civil unrest and the demand for police reform in the wake of recent tragedies involving black people and law enforcement, Mayor Randall Woodfin and Birmingham law enforcement have come up with a plan for the city.
During a press conference Wednesday, Woodfin announced that the city would be looking into how the Birmingham Police Department’s practices as they run it through a 30-day internal review, followed by a 90-day review by a citizen task force.
Woodfin, who was joined by BPD Chief Patrick Smith and Lt. Richard Haluska of the Birmingham Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #1, spoke about how Birmingham’s violent crime has been reduced by 30% year-to-year and has seen a 27% reduction in property crime. He says that the Birmingham police receive more training than is required by the state.
As many police departments across the country are looking into the efficacy of choke-holds, Smith said the BPD does not authorize choke-holds as a tactic by officers, adding that officers are required to undergo de-escalation training.
Smith also spoke about how every police officer will and has gone through customer service training. And as it relates to the mental health of police officers, Smith and Haluska say officers receive counseling and help from peer support programs in order to assists with their mental health.
Woodfin said that throughout the entire process, he will keep the community and every citizen updated of the progress.