MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Alabama Attorney Gen. Steve Marshall, joined by other leaders in state and local law enforcement, addressed the press Wednesday in Montgomery about the killings of seven Alabama law enforcement officers over the last 13 months.
Excerpts from Attorney General Marshall’s remarks
“For most in this state, Feb. 4, 2020, was just another day. For the men and women who stand behind me and others who protect and serve communities across Alabama, this date has a very different meaning, both historic in our state and tragic for those who carry a badge. For us, the 4th of February marked the seventh murder of a member of Alabama law enforcement in barely 13 months, a record loss of life and a disturbing pattern that, today, we stand here to say must end.
“We spend hours and hours in this town talking about overcrowded prisons and very little about victims. The vast majority of our criminal-justice-policy debates center upon reducing punishment and limiting the tools of law enforcement and prosecutors—all driven by a desire to reduce the prison population at all costs. But I submit to you that Alabama does not have an incarceration problem, we have a crime problem. And good policing, proactive policing, stops crime from happening in the first place. We need our local law enforcement to be engaged in our neighborhoods, stopping the bad guys and fostering a safe environment for the good ones. But that kind of policing must be supported and welcomed by the citizens for whom law enforcement serves. Sadly, good policing has become more and more difficult because of our culture and societal attitudes towards law enforcement. That is obstacle is something that each of us must change.
“Citizens, we need your involvement. Law enforcement needs your partnership. Get to know your police chief and your sheriff. Find ways to serve alongside them. Tell them when you see suspicious behavior or evidence of violence and drug dealing. Invite them into your neighborhoods, to intervene early and swiftly before order is lost.
“And now, to those who would consider harming one of Alabama’s law enforcement officers, understand this and let me be clear. An attack on law enforcement in Alabama is an attack on all of her citizens—an attack on all Alabamians. If you attempt to take the life of a law-enforcement officer in this state, we will hold you accountable and see that you spend the rest of your life in a cinderblock prison cell. And if you take the life of a law-enforcement officer in Alabama, you will have likely forfeited your life as well. Understand that the penalty for killing a law enforcement officer in this state includes death. And I can also be very clear when I say this: that to those who would attempt to do harm to law enforcement in Alabama, that our state, local, and federal partnerships have never been stronger, and we will not rest until we are satisfied that justice has been served.
“Lastly, to the brave men and women who wear the badge, my heroes. Don’t give up. Don’t lose heart. Keep fighting the good fight. Your cause is a righteous one. Know that you have our support and our eternal gratitude.
Marshall was flanked by law enforcement officials from agencies who have lost officers over the last 13 months, including Birmingham Assistant Chief of Police Alan Treadaway, Mobile Chief of Police Lawrence Battiste, Auburn Chief of Police Paul Register, Tuscaloosa Chief of Police Mitt Tubbs, Huntsville Chief of Police Marc McMurray, Lowndes County Sheriff Chris West and Kimberly Chief of Police Ricky Pridmore.
In addition to Marshall, those speaking at the press conference in the Attorney General’s Office were Montgomery County Sheriff Derrick Cunningham (representing the Alabama Sheriffs Association), and Oxford Police Chief Bill Partridge (representing the Alabama Association of Chiefs of Police).