The Mobile City Council will once again be debating the merits of a Police Citizens’ Community Relations Advisory Council as calls for more community involvement resurface in the wake of an officer-involved shooting.
The item, which was proposed by Council members Levon Manzie, Fred Richardson and C.J. Small, will most likely be discussed at Tuesday’s regularly scheduled meeting, though a vote isn’t expected.
The Council’s purpose would be to improve relationships between citizens, communities and the police in hopes of bringing them together over the common goals of promoting and ensuring law and order, reducing crime and protecting the community.
The concept was raised previously back in 2014, but with limited support on the council and in the leadership of the Mobile Police Department, it failed to move forward.
So far, MPD Chief James Barber has yet to comment on the council’s plan to rehash the issue next week.
“Our communities want this,” Small said. “They want a more formal venue for addressing concerns and building relationships with the police. This is a way to do those things while keeping politics out of these issues.”
While the item will be discussed at the upcoming meeting, it is not expected to be voted on at that meeting as council rules dictate all first-read items be held over at least one week.
“This is the beginning of a conversation,” Small said. “I would hope we can all work together on this to make sure what we create is positive and productive.”
This announcement also follows the shooting deaths of black men in Baton Rouge, La. and Falcon Heights, Minn. and the killing of five police officers by a gunman in Dallas Thursday night.Before leaving for the Farnborough Air Show, Mayor Sandy Stimpson released comments on those events — encouraging citizens to look “beyond our own lenses … and move forward toward a life committed to helping a neighbor, mentoring a child and serving a purpose greater than oneself.”
“It is imperative that we set aside our differences and learn from mistakes of the past,” Stimpson said at a press conference in his office. “We must look forward to the greater promise of the future – created by One Mobile – by which the quality of life for each and every citizen in Mobile is improved.”
“I am grateful to each citizen for their resolve to remain calm and grateful for the trust you have instilled in my administration. We will not let you down.”