City considers changes to Huntsville Police Citizens Advisory Council

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala.- Huntsville City Council introduces a ordinance to amend the city’s current Police Citizens Advisory Council.

The HPCAC was created in 2010 but recently came to the forefront as it conducted a review of the police department’s actions during protests in the summer of 2020.

Critics of the way the Huntsville Police Citizens Advisory Council currently operates say it can’t do enough to hold the police department accountable for misconduct. Right now, the HPCAC really only offers suggestions to the department.

Huntsville city council members are introducing an ordinance to make changes to the HPCAC

Some notable changes in the ordinance include more frequent meetings and reporting to city council as well as changing the composition of the group adding more people and removing the person appointed by the police chief.

“Each council member will have two appointments to that committee, and the mayor would have three appointments to that committee,” says Bill Kling.

Another proposed change, the ability to review internal affairs records of the police department.

“We will be giving them the ability, if this passes to review internal affairs records, not the names unless they are in executive session which the chairman can call,” says Frances Akridge.

Some Huntsville residents say this is a step in the right direction, but are unsure its enough
“I still have concerns this entity will be relativity ineffective in its mission to restore public trust between its citizens and the police we need more definition in the roles and scope. Being a sounding board isn’t enough. Without a concrete accountability structure, the current advisory model does nothing more than suggest to the police with no other result,” says Joseph Steelman.

This was only the first introduction of the ordinance to make changes to the HPCAC. No action has been taken yet by Huntsville City Council.

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