HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Protests all over the country are fighting against injustice. Some of them have remained peaceful, while others have escalated.
Over the weekend in Huntsville, peace remained at the center of the protests, but Lt. Michael Johnson with the Huntsville Police Department says they are prepared for anything.
“If a protest does turn violent – and we would not like to think that protesters themselves are violent, it’s actually those that infiltrate protest situations – we do have a team of officers, along with general patrol, that know how to react to these situations,” said Lt. Johnson.
He adds that the officers’ plan for each situation constantly changes.
“We do tweak our plans literally on the move,” Lt. Johnson said. “Whether it’s an increase in possible officer presence or increase in contingency plans for things that happen.”
The department commends the protests over the weekend for having no violence and no property damage, unlike other cities in the state.
“I think everyone walked away with more sense of security for our city and more sense of resolve for how law enforcement is going to continue moving forward… healing and mending these wounds that we’re seeing across the country,” said Lt. Johnson.
While it is the job of police officers to maintain peace in the city, Lt. Johnson says they are also focused on protecting the rights of protesters to make sure they’re voices are heard.
“First and foremost, that is absolutely what we actually plan for, is protecting those that are trying to express their first amendment rights,” he said. “It’s something fundamental across the country. It’s something that we know historically has been protected here with our police department.
And the Huntsville Police Department plans to keep it that way.
Some of the protests around the city might require a permit, while others do not. If you would like to organize a rally, you can check with HPD to see if a permit would be necessary, and they will help you out.