HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – The public was not able to comment after the tonight’s special-called meeting, but the City Council President Devyn Keith went through four questions from the public that were not addressed in Police Chief Mark McMurray’s nearly three-hour-long presentation.
Questions included: Is the Huntsville Police Department certified by any outside agency?
Another was: “If there were violent outside agitators at the event, why were all the arrests Madison County citizens?
“Fair question,” said Chief McMurray. “The last 20 people we arrested were the ones who grouped themselves grouped themselves up in the middle of the road and would not leave. We just took them to jail for disorderly conduct. These are not violent agitators we put in jail that night.”
Another question posed to Chief McMurray is who decided to use tear gas and rubber bullets?
McMurray said he and Madison County Sheriff Kevin Turner were in charge of decision making for their respective departments. Adding that HPD does not use rubber bullets.
“We have 2 distractionery devices that we use in crown control. One of the is the 12-gauge bean bag round, which encourages you very forcefully to move on, doesn’t penetrate your skin. And the other is a larger is a foam projectile,” said McMurray.
One person asked, who and what is involved in setting curriculum for academy? How much time goes into it?
Police Academy Director Dewayne McCarver said the state sets a week and a half requirement for firearms, and eight hours for interpersonal communications.
But he said HPD goes above and beyond to teach officers to de-escalate situations by using the VirTra 300.
“If when they’re confronted with a bad situation, if they handle the situation correctly, it branches toward a de-escalation of the event and then on top of that we make sure every time we do a simulation or a role play exercise, we don’t use the same gender or same race.”
McCarver said HPD also doubles the number of interpersonal communications training hours.