Huntsville police release report on community suggestions following protests

Updated: Jul. 31, 2020 at 6:34 PM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - The Huntsville Police Department has released its report to address 28 community suggestions and recommendations about the department’s policies, procedures and techniques.

The questions came from several different organizations in the community following the department’s response to protests in downtown Huntsville where tear gas, rubber bullets and other police tactics were used.

The report follows a police presentation to City Council on July 29 where Police Chief Mark McMurray and his command team reviewed the department’s operations and progressive initiatives it has undertaken in the past 12 years. That presentation can be seen here.

McMurray encourages the public to read through the document and reach out if they have additional questions. That document can be found below or at this link.

“It breaks down some of the answers and responses to a few of the organizations that were looking for answers and had concerns about policy and procedures and training and general operation about the department,” said Lt. Michael Johnson with the Huntsville Police Department. “It is answers to those.”

One of the recommendations was to make standard operating procedures and use of force policies public so citizens can be informed on how citizen/police contact should go.

In the report, it states the Huntsville Police Department launched a new initiative to allow online public access. The department said they are reviewing each of its policies for publication and will upload them as each review is complete. It should take about three months for them all to be loaded. That is one of the 28 responses by the chief of police.

“Huntsville police strive to maintain a culture of continuous improvement,” said McMurray. “We recognize this can only be accomplished through routine engagement with citizens and organizations concerned with the manner of law enforcement employed throughout the community. We welcome this opportunity to address concerns and suggestions and look forward to ongoing change and conversation.”

“You can’t know where you’re going until you know where you are,” said Mayor Tommy Battle. “Huntsville police hold themselves to the highest law enforcement standards, and they hold themselves accountable to our community. This includes listening and working with residents, embracing and enacting progressive police procedures, and holding officers accountable for their actions. I am proud of this police department and their commitment to Huntsville.”

“These are challenging times and communication is extremely important,” McMurray said. “We recognize this document is but one step in the process and we will continue this dialogue through every available means. This includes social media, town halls, website, direct meetings with concerned citizens/organizations, and the wide variety of community relations programs in place within each precinct. It’s part of our commitment to making progressive and responsive changes for the betterment of our City and all of its citizens.”

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