Birmingham bans no strike warrants, announces more police action

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Patrick D. Smith, Chief of the Birmingham Police Department (right) with pastor Dr Thomas Beavers of New Rising Star Church in East Lake, who helped give his opinion on changes in BPD. (Ryan Michaels, The Birmingham Times)

Ryan michaels

The Birmingham Times

The city of Birmingham on Tuesday banned the strike ban warrants, which were never part of police service operations but are now in writing and are part of official policy.

“We will continue to work to re-evaluate all of our policies, re-evaluate everything we do, to make sure we are implementing best practices in law enforcement and keeping the community safe, while making sure our officers are safe, ”Patrick D. Smith, chief of the Birmingham Police Department, said at a press conference.

No-coup warrants have become the target of advocacy groups and many citizens due to the 2020 murder of Breonna Taylor, a black emergency, by Louisville police officers.

“Some areas of procedure weren’t codified in writing,” Smith said, “so that was the most important part: codifying what we’re doing, having it in writing with detailed explanations, and telling officers exactly what to do with it. what we were doing. “

In addition to banning no-strike warrants, BPD has implemented new risk assessment practices to “determine the level of risk or the number of danger agents and community members who will be placed. during tenure ‘service based on official BPD rules, Smith mentioned.

Taylor’s death shocked many across the country and forced many police departments to review their policies, Mayor Randall Woodfin said.

“We have all been struck by the fact that during a real execution of a warrant, a person who is at home, a person who is sleeping in their house, should actually be able to wake up,” said Woodfin. “They shouldn’t be shot. They certainly shouldn’t be killed.

When it comes to BPD’s new risk assessment policies, Woodfin has focused on flashbangs. “[The new rule] also. . . banned devices such as flashbangs, by the police, unless the risk assessment specifies their use or extreme circumstances require their use, ”the mayor said.

Chief Smith said local religious leaders, such as Dr Thomas Beavers of New Rising Star Church in East Lake, have offered comments that have helped lead the changes.

“[Pastors] came into my conference room hot and heavy, and we actually sat down and had really long conversations over a period of several months, “Smith said,” making sure we had the right policy in place. “

Beavers said he and a group of other pastors were grateful to say no-strike warrants would not be used in Birmingham.

“We’ve found that if a change is to take place, it’s absolutely important that it starts in Birmingham, Alabama… because Birmingham has a very, very rich history, and we understand the world is watching,” Beavers said. “Therefore, as a result, we understand the power and historic capital that we have in Birmingham, Alabama, to effect change, especially police reform.”

In other city affairs on Tuesday, officials urged residents behind on rent or utility bills due to COVID-19 difficulties to seek millions in federal funds, especially with evictions which are expected to resume in August.

Woodfin said the main problem for people who need help is the app itself.

“The main challenge across the country, not just in Birmingham, is the paperwork required by the federal government,” Woodfin said. “The federal government has already made changes to make the process easier, and I’m delighted.

Chris Hatcher, acting director of the city’s Community Development Department, urged citizens to apply if they need help.

“We can help, we are partners and [have] has assembled a team that is ready and able to help, ”said Hatcher. “The Federal Government has provided the City of Birmingham with these funds to provide citizens in need [within] the city.”

A federal moratorium on evictions that has protected people facing financial hardship as a result of the pandemic is expected to expire in late July. In August, evictions suspended due to the pandemic will resume. The money pays homeowners who are also able to apply for the relief funding.

To request rental and utility assistance, visit https://birminghamal.gov/covidrent.


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