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Huntsville Police Citizens Advisory Council hosts forum on police recruitment

Published: Jan. 11, 2022 at 4:59 PM CST
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - The Huntsville Police Citizens Advisory Council (HPCAC) hosted a public forum Tuesday night for community members with questions on how police recruit new officers.

Community members had the opportunity to learn the expectations for modern law enforcement. Tonight’s round table discussion was held at the North Huntsville Public Library at 5:30 p.m. The forum was streamed live on WAFF 48′s digital and social media platforms.

However, there was an elephant in the room. This meeting follows 28-year-old HPD Officer David McCoy allegedly shooting and killing his girlfriend that was seven months pregnant with his child.

HPCAC and HPD immediately shut this down and said they would not address the matter because it is under investigation.

“The incident over the weekend, unfortunately, neither myself nor any of the officers there will be able to comment at this time,” said Captain Jon Ware.

The Huntsville Police Citizens Advisory Council addressed people’s concerns tonight about HPD recruiting and HR practices.

HPCAC Secretary, David Little says the investigation is an extensive process.

“This most recent incident we can’t talk about it. It is an investigation and the community needs to understand that sometimes these things happen slowly. Once that process is done then we can talk about it,” said Little.

Captain Ware says a total of 28 HPD employees have left the force since 2015, due to various reasons. Most of the cases were due to other officers reporting misconduct.

“Most of these incidents were reported by other officers or incidents and were not citizen complaints,” said Ware.

Currently, there are around 500 officers with HPD. Ware says that’s about 50 officers short. However, they do an extensive hiring process to make sure they’re hiring the best.

“You go to a polygraph exam. This is something that not every police department in the state does. This is because we often find things in the polygraph where someone looks like an excellent candidate, and then we find out honestly everything from drug trafficking to child porn we have turned up,” said Ware.

Even as Officer McCoy sits in the Madison County Jail, he’s still getting paid by the city while on administrative leave.

“It is one of those things that goes back to the policy. If there is a policy in place they can point to, then sure… Let us see the rules of the game so we know what to expect,” said Huntsville resident, Remus Bowden.

That policy basically boils down to the city holding a disciplinary hearing to stop paying an employee. That could take months.

HPCA says they are looking forward to continuing the conversation with the public.

“We are looking forward to engaging with the public and answering questions and concerns about modern policing,” said Jonathan Rossow, Chair of the HPCAC. “Our role as the City’s advisory council on policing is to help build bridges of understanding between the community and the Huntsville Police Department. This is a powerful way to achieve that goal.”

If you couldn’t make the meeting, there will be seven more public forums held throughout 2022. HPCAC will hold the forums at different locations around Huntsville to ensure community members have the opportunity to attend. Click here to access schedules and future locations.

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