Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson and Police Chief James Barber have agreed to support a City Council initiative to create a citizen advisory council, if councilors agree to make certain compromises.
At a roundtable discussion with the press on Monday, Stimpson unveiled five conditions he hoped the City Council would agree to. For starters, Stimpson asked for seven appointees of his own to the advisory council from each of the council districts. As it stands, the advisory council would consist of seven city council appointees.
Stimpson said the additional appointees were needed to help better communicate both the mayor’s and council’s perspectives to the public. He added that two informed voices would make the council a better communication tool.
Stimpson also wants all appointees to either be graduates of the Mobile Police Department’s Citizens’ Academy, or be willing to go through a modified course. Stimpson also wants appointees to agree to take quarterly ride-alongs in their district or precinct.
Further, Stimpson wants the advisory council to include ex-officio members, like U.S. Attorney Kenyen Brown and the FBI special agent in charge of Mobile. The advisory council should also sunset on Jan. 1, 2021 to allow the city council to discuss extending it, Stimpson said.
Finally, Stimpson also asked that the council be advisory in nature and have no oversight.
“Given the state of affairs across our nation, it has become increasingly important that we are proactive in engaging and communicating across our entire city, while improving the public’s perception, relationship and dialogue with law enforcement” Stimpson said. “We have long sought and continue to welcome input from our citizens. In fact, I demand it. It is the only way we can build trust and confidence across the city of Mobile.”
The sponsors of the ordinance councilmen Levon Manzie, Fred Richardson and C.J. Small released a statement on Stimpson’s announcement late Monday afternoon. In the statement, the councilors seemed willing to consider the compromises.
“We appreciate the Mayor’s turn around on this issue. It’s a positive step for the city that he now sees the value of engaging our citizens in an effort to bring together these groups to address incredibly serious issues within our communities,” the statement read. “We are happy for these thoughts to be among those on the table when this issue is discussed next week at a public meeting of the Public Safety Committee. The more input we get, the better.”
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