Mayor Maddox Speaks Out on the Recent Homicides
January 14, 2016
Since the beginning of the new year, we have seen too much tragedy and heartbreak. The genesis of these violent acts begins with selfish and ruthless individuals who have little regard for the sanctity and meaning of human life.
Although it is natural to count and compare crime data, behind the statistics we must always remember, there are mothers, fathers, sons and daughters whose souls are crushed.
Adding to the misery, neighborhoods now must deal with the anxiety and frustration of feeling unsafe by a reckless few.
As mayor, I will not accept this, and I hope our community will not accept this evolving narrative. We all have a crucial role to play in elevating our City.
This issue goes beyond the work of the Tuscaloosa Police Department.
The breakdown of family structures and the continued decline of taking personal responsibility are beyond the reach of any government or law enforcement agency.
That being said, we will do everything within our power and influence to provide for the safety and security of our City.
To our faith-based communities, social service agencies and institutions of public and higher education, it is time to redouble our efforts. Your respective organizations have the ability to shape minds, change hearts and deliver services that provide a pathway to a better life.
Working together in the past 10 years, we have provided the Tuscaloosa Pre-K Initiative, Hope Initiative and Summer Jobs Program that have produced tangible results. Let’s do more.
To community members, if you know of criminal activity or have information, we need to hear your voice.
Lastly, we all need to involve ourselves in the upcoming legislative session.
For the past several years, as part of its legislative agenda, the City Council has requested that the State fully fund and enhance our criminal justice system, and in particular, the courts, corrections and mental health.
Unfortunately, due to declining state revenues, these critical services, which directly impact every citizen, are strained to the point that it is jeopardizing public safety.
Prisons are filled to 190 percent capacity, and the only remedy is to continue the downsizing without adequate resources in place for education, substance abuse counseling and job training.
This flawed remedy is creating a crisis with the emergencies being felt the hardest in Alabama's largest cities.
The rhetoric of slashing government may make for effective sound bites, but the practical matter is that it is leading to revolving door justice where little time, if any, is served, and where those who are leaving our corrections system are ill-equipped and ill-prepared to enter a modern workforce. Thus, returning to a life of crime is the only viable option.
In short, our officers are arresting and re-arresting the same individuals, and in too many crimes committed in Tuscaloosa, we see the same individuals who have no fear of the State's justice system.
Despite this backdrop, we are doing our job – When benchmarked against where we were in year one of our administration, we have made significant strides in reducing crime, especially violent crimes.
Moving forward, without Montgomery’s support, the progress of our community, and most importantly, the safety of our City is in the balance.
As mayor, I don't have the luxury of hiding behind ideology or hoping that better days are ahead, therefore, I have authorized a series of tactical measures recommended by Chief Anderson.
I believe in Chief Anderson and in the Tuscaloosa Police Department.
Although we cannot disclose the specifics, I am confident they will provide a short-term strategy in dealing with what is in front of us; however, moving forward, we must encourage our state leaders to comprehensively address the need to enhance courts, corrections and mental health services.