Tag: 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.

Landfill Fire Annoying Residents More Than 20 Miles Away ‘Contained,’ Evacuated Residents Allowed to Return

Residents of five homes in Moody that had been evacuated were given the “all clear” to return home as the Moody Fire Department determined that a landfill fire that has been burning largely underground has been contained.

The fire is burning at Blackjack Road from Carrington Lake Parkway to Annie Lee Road at a landfill that disposes of trees and other debris.

Persons living as far away as Birmingham’s Crestwood neighborhood complained of smelling smoke and even having smoke invade their homes.

When material burns underground, there is a cavity and soil falls away. “It can create a fissure or a hole and then we have smoke or steam coming up through that,” Moody Fire Marshal James Mulkey said. “Then the smoke is going to come up into the air. You can smell this for miles.”

The above-ground part of the fire has been plainly visible from several miles away. Read more.

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