Mayor Walt Maddox Announces Timetable for Community Engagement and Protection Initiative
June 15, 2020
Mayor Walt Maddox has requested a special called Public Safety Committee meeting on August 11 to unveil a community engagement and protection initiative for the Tuscaloosa Police Department (TPD).
The City of Tuscaloosa and TPD believe it is time to be more and do more to increase trust and accountability.
“We must do something with this moment to continue to build strong relationships between the city, TPD and the citizens we serve every day,” said Maddox. “When Chief Blankley interviewed this past February, one of his primary goals was to establish meaningful relationships within our community. The time is now, and I hope our federal, state and local partners will join with us. The journey begins by listening and learning.”
Over the next few weeks, Mayor Maddox, Chief Blankley, TPD officers and senior leadership team members will meet with citizens, community leaders, educators, pastors, elected officials and other stakeholders. Additionally, the city will be hosting virtual town hall meetings via Facebook Live beginning Friday, June 19. Blankley will also engage his officers with additional training and will review best practices across the nation.
“Community policing begins with defining what each community needs,” Blankley said. “Each day, our officers put their lives on the line because they believe in the mission of protecting and serving. When we are engaged in our neighborhoods, we can build lasting relationships that help keep our community safe and vibrant.”
Mayor Maddox understands this will be complicated, but more is required.
“With our progress, we still have neighborhoods facing crime, poverty and blight,” Maddox said. “TPD is often placed in a position of treating the symptoms of a greater problem caused by lack of educational, healthcare and economic opportunities. The City cannot do this alone, but we can make a difference. Between Elevate Tuscaloosa’s educational investments, and a reinvigorated partnership between TPD and our community, we can strengthen trust and accountability while bridging the divides of racial, social and economic injustices. I look forward to working with Council President Cynthia Almond, Councilor Raevan Howard (Chairwoman of the Council’s Public Safety Committee) and our entire City Council as we reconnect, redefine and reimagine community policing.”