Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Featured Opinion

Opinion | Police chief bill is about politics, not actually solving problems

A bill that would allow the AG or governor to select city’s police chief is rooted in cheap politics, and it won’t help anyone.

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Reed Ingram and Will Barfoot just want to be proactive. 

No, for real. That’s all their bill is about – the bill that would allow the Alabama attorney general or governor to appoint an interim police chief of any city in which crime rates exceed a certain, arbitrary level. 

Just two guys being proactive. That’s what Reed told about the bill. 

It’s weird, though, isn’t it – just when our Republican-led legislature decides to be proactive? And how it goes about being proactive? 

It’s never, for example, recognizing that 70 years of discrimination, underfunded education and neglected neighborhoods might result in upticks of crime, violence and general anger. It’s not dumping resources into neighborhood schools or implementing programs that ensure certain individuals aren’t being overlooked for jobs and educational opportunities simply because of their skin color or economic status. 

No, “proactive” is picking the police chief because you desperately need people to forget the systemic failures brought on by decades of failed conservative ideas and instead blame the Black guy in charge of all the problems you left behind. 

“Proactive” is a couple of guys who don’t even live in Montgomery – they both live in Pike Road – trying to usurp the power of a mayor, not in an effort to better the city or help the citizens, but to play a political game. 

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Look, we get it. You don’t like Steven Reed and you want to, at every opportunity, take shots at the Montgomery mayor in some childish attempt to weaken him politically. You hate that he’s actually been a pretty good mayor, drawing in businesses and creating jobs better than any mayor south of Huntsville. 

But this is pathetic. 

Even worse, it’s obvious even to those who aren’t exactly Reed fans that this political ploy – and that’s all it is – is laughably useless. 

I mean, do you actually think the problem in Montgomery is that the people leading the city aren’t trying hard enough? That the acting police chief doesn’t know enough laws? That someone from outside of the city – because this stupid bill isn’t just for Montgomery – might have a better grasp on the internal, daily problems of that city? 

We all know the real answers to those questions. Just like we know this bill is nothing more than a shameful PR stunt that’s neither serious nor helpful. 

Honestly, it exposes both Ingram and Barfoot as either incredibly clueless or callously political. Those are the only two options for people who live near Montgomery, and presumably are even passingly familiar with its history and problems, and still choose this approach to address those problems. 

 The most glaring giveaway is that they admit that the bill is based on the impression so many have – thanks to a variety of reasons – that violent crime is “out of control” in Montgomery. But Montgomery’s violent crime rate isn’t even in the top five in the state. Bessemer, Birmingham, Anniston, Mobile and Gadsden all rank higher. 

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

In overall crime, the city doesn’t rank in the top 20 in the state. 

That’s not to say that crime isn’t an issue, mind you. Or that Montgomery doesn’t have its fair share of meaningful problems that need to be addressed. 

But those problems need to be addressed with serious solutions and by serious people. Not some half-baked, look-at-me-burning-the-mayor nonsense that won’t help a soul. 

Like, for example, how about overturning the ridiculous ban on occupational tax increases that was passed by the legislature in direct response to Reed and the Montgomery City Council’s plan to raise Montgomery’s? 

I wonder if Ingram or Barfoot considered that when they were talking about the lack of police officers in Montgomery? You know, since a portion of the tax increase was going to be spent on attracting more officers. 

The fact is Montgomery’s current leadership has been left a steaming hunk of problems by a number of leaders. From former mayors and city councilmen, who took every opportunity to marginalize and demean certain citizens, to state legislators, who have taken every opportunity to concentrate power in the State House and make it all but impossible to reverse the effects of decades of racism, indifference and ignorance. 

If you actually want to help, start by acknowledging those facts and stop pretending that decades of problems suddenly fell from the sky when the Black mayor was elected. Because everyone sees that for what it is.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Josh Moon is an investigative reporter and featured columnist at the Alabama Political Reporter with years of political reporting experience in Alabama. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter.

More from APR


Marshall is retaining a conservative firm to help defend Alabama’s ban on gender-affirming healthcare for minors in court.

Featured Opinion

Montgomery resident have demanded that Mayor Reed "do something" about crime. On Tuesday, he explained they're doing a lot.


Rep. Terri Sewell was the only member of Alabama’s delegation to vote in favor of the bill.

Local news

The new virtual assistant is designed to enhance communication between citizens and the city.