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Huntsville's Police Citizens Advisory Council accepting public comment on police actions

The Huntsville Police Citizens Advisory Council (HPCAC) continues to take comments on police actions during protests in late May and early June.

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — The Huntsville Police Citizens Advisory Council (HPCAC) is inviting public comment as they review police actions before and during recent protest events in Huntsville between May 30 and June 5

Public comment is part of the review process. Residents can submit their comments through an Online Form at HuntsvilleAL.gov/PoliceCitizensAdvisoryCouncil through August 7.

HPCAC Chair Vicki Guerrieri says that while the review will take time, she is confident it will provide an impartial assessment of the steps taken by Huntsville police.

“We take the responsibility of this review seriously and will proceed with the utmost integrity,” said Guerrieri. “The HPCAC recognizes this is an opportunity to strengthen our community and its interaction with local police.”

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According to the city, the review process will include interviews with police, community organizers, eyewitness/protest participants, and related experts along with access to records, documents, and public comment. The HPCAC also retained independent counsel to advise them on legal matters.  

When the review is complete, the HPCAC will report its findings to the Mayor, City Council, Chief of Police and the public. 

For more information, visit the Huntsville Police Citizens Advisory Council's website.

The HPCAC was established in 2010 to improve the relationship and perception between Huntsville Police and the citizens it serves. The 10-member council recommends procedures, programs, or legislation to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the Police Department and they work to keep the Chief of Police apprised of actions that create community concern.

The members are appointed by various people: two by the mayor, three by the chief of police, and one by each member of the city council. Each appointee serves a two-year term.   

Currently, Huntsville Police Citizens Advisory Council (HPCAC) in accordance with City Council Resolution 20-512, which directs the HPCAC to produce a report concerning the events from May 30, 2020 to June 5, 2020, would like to update the community on actions taken thus far. They released this announcement today (July 27, 2020):

Since the resolution was passed, the HPCAC has met to begin its review of the relevant Huntsville Police Department policies as well as other documentation of the events at issue.

Additionally, the HPCAC has retained Elizabeth H. Huntley and Jackson Sharman, with the Law Firm of Lightfoot, Franklin and White in Birmingham, as outside counsel to assist where legal issues may arise, but more importantly to ensure the HPCAC remains independent during this process.

On July 9, the HPCAC launched a community input portal, found here, where members of the community can share their thoughts and concerns directly to the HPCAC.  More than 640 forms have been received to date. In addition to the Community Input forms, the HPCAC has received an additional 200 e-mails. The community input portal will remain open until August 7. In addition to written communications the HPCAC has been contacted about receiving cell phone and other video footage from citizens.  We are working on how best to safely and securely receive  citizen video footage.  

The HPCAC also plans to hold public listening sessions after the closing date for the input portal where members of the community can safely share, in person, their concerns and it is our hope that they will also share their ideas on how best the Police Department can respond to similar events in the future.  The HPCAC will plan the public meeting consistent with Centers for Disease Control guidelines.  The meeting information will be made available as soon as possible.  

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