Mayor's Minute - Project Unity
September 9, 2020
As Mayor of the City of Tuscaloosa, I recognize the important work being done around the country improving police departments to better serve and protect their citizens. I also recognize that our neighborhoods are still faced with crime, poverty and blight. Over the last few months, I have listened and I have learned that things I thought were working are not working. I have learned I have not done enough. It is time for all of us to do more. In August, the City of Tuscaloosa took the steps to do more. We will transform how our police department operates both internally through recruiting and training our officers and externally through how we engage our community and the people we serve. We will enhance educational, economic, housing, and recreational opportunities while reducing crime and poverty that disproportionally affects our minority communities.
Chief Blankley and I have met with dozens of citizens, community leaders, educators, pastors, elected officials and other stakeholders to listen, learn and shape a comprehensive plan for community policing efforts in Tuscaloosa. Additionally, the City has hosted three virtual town hall meetings via Facebook Live so that we can get as much community input as possible. That being said, it is not enough to simply listen and to have passion. Passion has to transition to policy, and policy has to transition to results. The result of our community meetings and conversations is the driving force behind our new community engagement initiative, Project Unity.
Our city is not a stranger to working to do more for our community, and Project Unity is the City’s initiative designed to bridge gaps between our officers and the community while creating equal opportunities for all citizens. Project Unity is comprised of two committees with unique goals; the Mayor’s Alliance for Opportunity and Advancement, and the Chief’s Commission for Community Policing. The Mayor’s Alliance for Opportunity and Advancement will focus on enhancing educational, economic, housing and recreational opportunities while reducing crime, poverty and blight. The Chief’s Commission for Community Policing will focus on sustaining positive, lasting bonds between the Tuscaloosa Police Department and the communities they serve while enhancing recruitment, training and retainment of the most qualified and diverse workforce. Both committees are comprised of community leaders, city officials and police officers working together to create a safer and stronger community.
We all must do something with this moment to continue to build strong relationships between the city, our police department and the citizens we serve every day. The City is taking great steps to do more and I look forward to working with you as we continue to shape the future of our city. To get involved or to learn more about Project Unity and provide community feedback, please visit Tuscaloosa.com/Unity.