Huntsville Police release report on community suggestions

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Huntsville Police has released its report addressing community concerns about the department’s policies, procedures and techniques. This 73-page report follows a police presentation to City Council two days ago where Police Chief Mark McMurray and his command team reviewed the department’s operations and initiatives taken in the past 12 years.

(View the police presentation on City Video)

McMurray developed the report after a protest on June 3 that started as a peaceful rally against police brutality hosted by the NAACP in Downtown Huntsville. That protest ended with tear gas being used to disperse protesters at the Madison County Courthouse square and again at Big Spring Park.

“Huntsville police strive to maintain a culture of continuous improvement,” said Police Chief Mark McMurray in the news release from the department. “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.”

Mayor Tommy Battle also included a statement in the news release. “You can’t know where you’re going until you know where you are. 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.”

Chief McMurray hopes the public will read through the document and reach out if they have additional questions.

The report is meant to address 28 questions and suggestions compiled from different organizations related to policy, procedures, and techniques used by HPD.

It starts with a letter from McMurray who says “We recognize this is but one step in the process. We must continue routine dialogue through every available means, including websites, social media, town hall meetings, direct meeting with concerned citizens/organizations, and the wide-variety of community relations programs in place within each precinct.

These questions include the request to make all standard operating procedures and use of force policies public (online). The response from HPD says the public will soon be able to access the “Written Directives” through a web-based policy management system.

Also addressed in the document: the use of choke-holds, implicit bias training, annual training on agency policies, and requiring a warning before shooting.