Category: Public Safety

Birmingham Sets Up New Police Advisory Committee

Birmingham Randall Woodfin on Tuesday announced the formation of a Public Safety Advisory Committee to conduct an assessment of police operations, review community complaints, bring transparency to police operations and hold the police department accountable for its actions.

The first meeting of the committee will be Thursday on the second floor of City Hall and is open to the public.

The committee formation comes after the city in 2021 formed a Civilian Review Board, but it never got to the point of publicly dealing with community complaints. Read more.

Birmingham will fund a ‘violence intervention’ program. Can it get to the heart of the problem?

Michelle Farley remembers Rico. He was a member of the Youth Action Committee at One Roof, the Birmingham homelessness services organization where Farley serves as executive director.

In 2019, Rico was shot, according to Farley, and remained hospitalized for weeks. He was then released, she said, “with no more resources for conflict resolution or violence prevention than when he entered.”

Just a few weeks later, Rico was shot for a second time. He didn’t make it.

On Tuesday, the Birmingham City Council approved a pilot program to provide services to those impacted by gun violence in the Magic City. Read more.

‘This just can’t go on’: Birmingham City Councilors Somber a Day After Firefighter’s Death

As Birmingham’s city councilors met Tuesday, the mood was somber.

Just a day earlier, Jordan Melton, a Birmingham firefighter, had died as a result of injuries he suffered when he and his colleague, Jamal Jones, were shot inside Station 9 on July 12.

As council members gathered in Boutwell Auditorium for their regularly scheduled meeting, a shirt was draped in solidarity across the tables at the front of the room. It was a show of solidarity: “Birmingham Fire & Rescue,” it said across its front.

“On behalf of Mayor Woodfin, I want to express that our hearts are with the Birmingham Fire and Rescue Service and the Melton family as they continue to mourn Monday’s passing of firefighter Jordan Melton after he was shot last week at Station 9 in Norwood,” Cedric Sparks, the mayor’s chief of staff, said at the meeting. Read more.

The Missing Children of Alabama

Forty-three children have gone missing in Alabama and never been found.

Forty-three children who didn’t sleep in their own beds last night or didn’t go to their usual classrooms this morning, or hang out with their friends, or report to their jobs, or have families of their own, as far as anyone knows.

That’s just the active missing children cases being investigated by law enforcement agencies in the state now, according to the Alabama Center for Missing & Exploited Children website, as the country marked National Missing Children’s Day on May 25.

There are seven children missing from Jefferson County alone: Eric Raymundo Brito and Miguel Bernal Raymundo, both now 15, of Pleasant Grove; Mardela Beatriz Sebastian Mateo, now 17, of Tarrant; Jefferson Santos, now 6, of Pinson; Danasia Goodon, now 16, of Birmingham; Jason Sims Jr., now 24, of Fairfield; and Asandra Peri Pineda-Orellana, now 18, of Lipscomb.

Some of the children listed as missing by the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency Community Information Center search site for missing children have been gone for a day or a month; one has been gone since 1984 and would be 51 today. Read more; see the cases.

Birmingham Council Looks to Reduce Crime With Statistical Analysis

The Birmingham City Council has approved a partnership with the nonprofit Aspen Institute to gather and analyze a wide variety of data about the city’s 99 neighborhoods.

The project, named the Birmingham/Aspen Justice and Governance Partnership, is intended to reduce crime by gathering and analyzing hyperlocal statistics — for example, the number of traffic stops or emergency room admissions in a given neighborhood. This information would be made publicly available and could be used by lawmakers to inform policy. Read more.

‘Is It Soup Yet?’: Engineer Submitting Plans for Putting Out Landfill Fire

Dan Dahlke was reminded of a 1970s TV commercial when he was asked about his submission to Gov. Kay Ivey to put out the months-long smoldering landfill fire in Moody.

“Is it soup yet?”

“It’s getting there,” the St. Clair County engineer said Friday. “I’ve sent stuff over to the county attorney and I think he’s putting it all together and trying to figure out exactly who we need to send this to (in) the governor’s office.
“When he finds that, we’ll probably shoot this off to whoever this afternoon.”

Dahlke has received proposals from a number of contractors with varied ideas for dealing with the fire that has been burning for about two months and irritating residents as far as 30 miles away. Residents have been complaining not just about the smell and the smoke, but about health effects such as asthma, coughing and nausea. Read more.

Birmingham Police Partner with DEA to Battle Violent Crime

Birmingham Police officers will be assigned to a new High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas task force under a partnership between the Police Department and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency. The partnership, Mayor Randall Woodfin said, will “make a huge difference” in the city’s fight against violent crime. Read more.