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Huntsville City Councilman releasing personal recommendations on police reform

Huntsville City Hall

Bill Kling says he did it with the help of 8 men and women who have been vocal about bridging the gap between the community and local law enforcement

Posted: Apr 26, 2021 12:10 AM

We want to tell you one local leader's ideas to improve the Huntsville Police Department.

Lack of training and communication, inconsistent use of force policies and lack of cooperation.

All were part of the Huntsville Police Citizens Advisory Council's report on the June protests.

It says Huntsville Police can improve in all those areas.

Now, one local leader is releasing his own​​ recommendations.

District 4 Councilman Bill Kling says his decision to announce his own recommendations comes after speaking with constituents.

He says this isn't a shameful moment, but hopefully, a learning lesson for change when it comes to law enforcement and the community.

"We picked up some great ideas that can be used to take that and enhance it further," said Kling.

District 4 Councilman Bill Kling says says the council's advisory board had good starting points in its recommendations.

But he took it upon himself to take it further.

Kling met with 8 Huntsville residents who've been outspoken when it comes to police reform.

Especially since the June protests.

Those 8 people, including Chris Harris, came up with their own list of recommendations and he says being a police officer holds a special title.

"It is a valiant, honorable job... But also can be inverted if you don't bring honor and valor to the badge," said Harris.

He hopes this inspires others to start having conversations with their city leaders.

"I really urge my fellow residents to participate more and it doesn't have to be anything big. We do need to start caring about how our city operations work," he said.

Here are the four recommendations made by this group:

1. Emphasis on more mental health services and training
2. Community outreach
3. Rebuilding community trust
4. More aggressive use of the internet

Kling says the first start to this is having discussions with all parties involved is step one.

He adds, if you aren't able to reach law enforcement, you can always reach your elected officials.

"You've got one mayor and 5 council members. We all care and we love this city and we're not strangers," said Kling.

Councilman Kling says he will be presenting his full recommendations at this Wednesday's city council meeting.

He says he hopes this will push the notion of everyone​ breaking down barriers between one another

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