Category: Public Safety

City officials want parents to combat gun violence. Community leaders say it’s not that simple.

It’s been 20 years since Shunda Milhouse lost her daughter, April, to gun violence when she was 15 years old.

The mother of six said she finds joy in seeing her daughters happy, but she said the pain of losing a child never goes away.

“It’s almost like time has stopped,” Milhouse said. “I don’t look at it as being 20 years. To me, it’s almost like yesterday.”

Milhouse says April asked to tag along with one of her older sisters for Senior Skip Day. Milhouse said she would usually say no to that kind of thing, but that day she said yes. April and her sister went to a park to meet up with other friends. While they were out, a man in his 20s tried to hit on April, and April said no.

“So she walked away and somehow his ego got bruised,” Milhouse said. “And when she declined to speak with him, he went to the trunk of his car and he got out a gun and he just started shooting in the park and he shot my baby in her back.”

Milhouse said she never expected that something like this would happen to her child.

“A lot of parents say, ‘not my child. This wouldn’t happen in my home,’” Milhouse said. “But little do they know guns are being hidden right there in your home.”

She said in order for things to change — and for fewer shootings to happen — people need to be invested in their community, because when young people are taken care of, they take care of their communities. Read more.

Teens Say Birmingham’s Gun Violence Takes a Heavy Toll

At least 11 students in Birmingham have died due to gun violence since the beginning of the year, and their peers say the ongoing issue causes their mental health to suffer. Read More

Birmingham Community Police Academy Kicks Off Oct. 4

The Birmingham Police Department will host a 10-week “community police academy” beginning Oct. 4. The program, approved by the City Council Tuesday, will be free and is intended to provide “an opportunity for the community to find out how the police department operates,” said Captain Janice Blackwell, the BPD’s community engagement liaison. It also provides guidance for setting up neighborhood watches and has the goal of strengthening trust between the public and the police department, particularly in the wake of rising gun violence in the city. Read more.

Sheriff Requests More Money for World Games Security

Learning that his department has a much bigger task than anticipated with The World Games, Sheriff Mark Pettway today sought $1.2 million from the Jefferson County Commission.

“We’ve had some other departments to pull out, which increased our involvement within The World Games,” Pettway said. “We are here. We’re local. We want to make sure that when everybody comes here, that everybody is safe. Read more.