Alabama Town Taps Police Veteran to Rebuild Community Trust

BROOKSIDE, Ala. (AP) — A police veteran has been tapped to assist restore the picture of an embattled city after allegations of aggressive policing for revenue gained nationwide consideration.

Henry Irby was launched Friday as Brookside’s interim police chief, al.com reported.

Irby, who retired as deputy chief of the Birmingham Police Division in 2018, mentioned that the “problem” of rebuilding belief throughout the group after the scandal within the Jefferson County city’s police division drew him to simply accept the job.

“The place there’s nice problem, there’s additionally alternative,” Irby mentioned Friday. “My profession has been devoted to constructing the belief that’s wanted between residents and the police who’re charged with their security.”

Former Brookside Police Chief Mike Jones resigned in late January shortly after al.com revealed an investigation detailing how police within the city mobilized lately to extract fines and charges from native drivers and folks passing by on Interstate 22. By 2020, practically half of the city’s income got here from fines and forfeitures.

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The second in command additionally resigned, as did a number of Brookside law enforcement officials.

Mayor Mike Bryan mentioned Friday that the Brookside police power at the moment included simply 4 officers, down from its peak of 14. He mentioned the municipal courtroom, which had processed violations en masse, had been suspended “till additional discover, indefinitely.” Bryan additionally referenced reforms carried out after the report, together with pulling the city’s officers from patrolling I-22.

“We will get policing proper right here,” Irby mentioned. “However we have to do it with the group. That’s how we get it proper. As a result of our aim is to have a Brookside police division that treats everybody with dignity and respect.”

After the report was revealed, extra allegations have been filed about mistreatment by the hands of Brookside Police. At a city corridor this week, extra drivers claimed they have been stopped for little or no cause, searched, and had property confiscated and that police issued 11 or 12 tickets on a single visitors cease.

Bryan mentioned all such claims can be investigated.

“These are horror tales and I hope and pray they’re not true,” he mentioned. “And no person deserves that. And so in hiring a really competent particular person like Chief Irby over right here, we’re going to see via that course of, and we’re going to attempt to determine if these allegations are true.”

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