Montgomery Police Chief Talks Youth Engagement and Restoring Trust

The Montgomery police chief joined a panel of five black leaders Monday night and said youth engagement is the most important goal the department pursues.

Throughout the summer, Chief Darryl Albert said officers attended movie nights, played basketball and swam with children as part of an effort to be active in the city.

“It’s things that we do at the MPD that we want to have that interaction and involvement between the police and the communities, especially our young people, that’s what really matters right now more than anything else,” said Chef Darryl Albert.

Ro Tyus Hollyfield, a community advocate; Muaath Al-Khattab, Faith in Action organizer for Alabama; Keith Ray, associate professor at Alabama State University and chair of the Department of Criminal Justice and Social Sciences; and Scott Holmes, a psychologist, all attended the forum at the Freewill Missionary Baptist Church.

Senior Pastor Quentin Byrd moderated the event and took questions from the audience to the panel.

Throughout the event, panelists agreed that communication between law enforcement and civilians is key to rebuilding trust in the police.

“Well, if you’ve heard, you know the questions that have been asked. I think with the way the country – the nation – has been in terms of law enforcement in the community, it’s very important that we’re having these discussions right here in our city to kind of expose this, get these things out so that we can have this communication and dialogue to see where we’re at in brief as a whole, not just the police in particular, but as a system where there are gaps where we see need to be taken care of,” Albert said.

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Ray said communication starts with transparency.

“I think we need to communicate on all sides,” Ray said. “I’m careful not to say it’s law enforcement versus the community because we’re all part of one community, but I will say that every component of that community needs to start communicating more effectively. “

Albert encouraged audience members to report any issues they encounter involving the police. He also encouraged the community to work with the police to help them solve crimes. “The police department can’t do it all,” Hollyfield said. “You can’t do everything. It will take everyone.

Ray noted that distrust of the police was a generational issue. “Distrust of the police didn’t just show up,” Ray said.

It’s something Albert is trying to fix. “You can’t stop to get out of these things,” Albert said. “You have to have the full package. The whole criminal justice system needs to work together.

Albert, 59, began working as Montgomery’s police chief in March. Prior to that, Albert worked for 32 years at the New Orleans Police Department. When Albert moved to Montgomery, he began work evaluating the department as well as hiring and promoting people to leadership positions.

“We still have a lot of work to do,” Albert said.

Alex Gladden is the public safety reporter for the Montgomery Advertiser. She can be contacted at [email protected]