Birmingham Public Safety Task Force looking for community input

Public safety task force to start meeting

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin started the task force back in July to see if there were any areas the police department could improve upon and now they are asking for the community’s opinion.

“I’m hoping to hear something I haven’t heard before," task force member Victor Revill said. “I am definitely open and hoping to hear a new solution or problems I didn’t know about.”

Victor Revill is a local criminal defense attorney and one of the five members on the Birmingham Public Safety Task Force. Additional task force members are:

Jaselle Houghtlin, a recent UAB graduate and co-founder of the advocacy group, Listen

Cara McClure, co-founder of Black Lives Matter Birmingham

Ed Watkins, a former Birmingham police detective

Joyce Vance, former U.S. Attorney of the Northern District of Alabama

The task force is evaluating the city’s police department for areas to improve upon and they want community input. The task force will hold a public hearing on Thursday, October 1, 2020 from 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. in the City Council Chambers of Birmingham City Hall. The task force is requesting public input. Individuals interested in submitting proposals may provide a written or video proposal.

“We are looking at everything," Revill said. “We are looking at community safety, we are looking at community relationships with the police department, we are looking at how police police, and how the internal workings of how the police department goes.”

“Nothing is off limits," City Council member and co-chair of the task force, Hunter Williams said. "This task force has been given a full opportunity to look under the hood and see exactly how this organization runs and what works and how it interacts with the city.”

The deadline for submitting a proposal is Tuesday, September 29, 2020 at 5 p.m. Video proposals must not exceed three minutes. Written or video proposals can be emailed to peace@birminghamal.gov.

Revill said the group has spent hours learning more about the police department. “I think this is an all around great experience and I think it is going to work for the citizens of Birmingham.”

The task force is set to give multiple recommendations to the mayor and the city council next month, but Revill said they could potentially present another list of recommendations later on.

“Wherever we are on the spectrum of police and community relationship, there will be an opportunity to do better," Williams said.

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