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Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Birmingham civilian-led public safety review board includes former governor, first woman police chief

Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin on Monday announced the formation of a civilian-led Public Safety Advisory Committee as part of an ongoing effort to build trust between the community and law enforcement.

A former governor and a former Birmingham police chief will be part of the group.

The committee’s actions will provide an independent assessment of police operations, according to city officials.

Creation of the committee is a direct response to the recommendations from the City of Birmingham’s Public Safety Task Force and national calls for re-imagining public safety.

It revises policy and replaces a civilian review board established in 2021.

Woodfin’s announcement said the committee’s purpose is to provide transparency to the public about police operations, provide the mayor with an independent assessment of police operations, create a space for accountability of the city and the police department for its operations in support of public safety and create a space to review community complaints in support of public safety.

“The experience surrounding the initial creation of a civilian review board provided greater insight into the needs of such a panel and shed light on how the policy would interact with state law. Woodfin said. “This transition to a Public Safety Advisory Committee will jumpstart efforts to support our intent.”

The committee members serve on a voluntary basis and are not compensated.

Members are:

• Rev. Lawrence Conoway – pastor, Fellowship Bible Church

• T. Marie King – activist, speaker, trainer/facilitator. King is also a community activist who helped produce a documentary about the life of Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth.

• Annetta Nunn, YWCA domestic violence court advocate; former chief, Birmingham Police Department. Nunn was the first woman police chief and the second Black chief in the city’s history.

• Victor Revill – criminal justice attorney, Public Safety Task Force member

• Don Siegelman – attorney and the only person in state history to serve as governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general and and secretary of state of Alabama. Siegelman served six years in federal prison for a bribery conviction before being released and getting his law license back.

King will serve as committee chairperson.

The committee will hold the first monthly meeting on Sept. 21, at 1 p.m. in the Gallery of Distinguished Citizens on the second floor of City Hall. The meeting will be open to the public.

Requests for a review of a matter by the committee can be made at www.BirminghamPSAC.org or by mailing a form to Division of Social Justice and Racial Equity re: PSAC, 710 20th Street North, Birmingham, AL 35203.

In addition to an online form, paper forms will be available at Birmingham’s public libraries and the Office of Public Information located on the third floor of City Hall. Anyone who wants to hand deliver a form can drop it off at the Office of Public Information located on the third floor of City Hall.

Upon completion of an investigation, committee actions and recommendations will be forwarded to the mayor. Findings of the committee will be made public in regularly scheduled reports.

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