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Local activists wants community input when selecting new Birmingham Police Chief

Published: Jan. 28, 2022 at 9:35 PM CST
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Community leaders are responding to Birmingham Police Chief Patrick Smith’s resignation, saying it’s time for change.

“We needed a leader than understands the culture climate of our community,” Birmingham’s Black Lives Matter co-founder Eric Hall said. “I was not a fan of Chief Smith. He did not perform very well when it comes to crime and reducing crime here in Birmingham. I don’t think that he did the footwork to build a great rapport with all of the community leaders and the people.``

That close community police relationship is exactly what Hall thinks the city needs.

“We need a leader that understands what it is going to take to move Birmingham forward,” Hall said. “We want a police chief that knows the community, knows who is who, and has relationships. Relationship is very key when it comes to policing community and people.”

Hall said he thinks a new chief could close the gap and help people trust the police department.

“We need to have some serious critical conversations about police accountability and certainly police reform,” Hall said. “I’m hoping this new leader will lead us in the right direction.”

The city has appointed a new interim acting Chief, Captain Scott Thurmond.

So far, there is no word on if he will hold the position officially, but Hall said he thinks the community needs to have a say in the next chief.

“We have to go further,” he said. “We have to be creative with our approach to policing. We are going to be demanding that we have some say so as it relates to who will be appointed the next police chief in Birmingham.”

Click here for more on Chief Smith’s resignation.

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