BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Mayor Randall Woodfin addressed the media Wednesday by saying in effect, “now more than ever is the time for accountability and to be transparent and how we engage in our community in building trust in those we are sworn to protect.”
Woodfin said his office has initiated a 30-day review between his office and community partners that looks at police transparency and accountability measures.
Monday the city issued a survey for public engagement.
Mayor Woodfin said hundreds of people have signed up to be part of the discussion.
Mayor Woodfin said, “Over the next 30 days there will be an internal review led by my office pursuant to the 8 Can’t Wait Framework. At the end of that 30 day period I will issue an executive order executing any gaps we find between what we do.”
In 30 days the mayor will name a community safety task force that will do a 90-day deeper drive into all the Birmingham Police Department’s rules and procedures. At the end of the 90-day review, Woodfin will use an executive order addressing any gaps between what officers are doing now and best practices.
Woodfin went on to say, “Every city right now is going to have to figure out what they’re going to pay for and what they aren’t and how they’re going to police in a post-George Floyd world. Birmingham is no different, and everything is on the table.”
Birmingham Police Chief Patrick Smith spoke during the news conference Wednesday. Smith said when he took office two years ago he was told there were officers who shouldn’t be on the force based on how the officers communicated and interacted with the community.
Smith said since he has taken office 16 officers have been terminated, seven of whom resigned in lieu of termination, 39 received suspension days, 25 have received additional training, and 12 have been sent to counseling.
Smith said BPD does not teach or authorize a chokehold or strangulation move. He also said officers do not shoot at moving vehicles unless there is an immediate threat to officers.
Woodfin and Smith said Birmingham police officers complete 60 hours of training on de-escalation a year.