From The Trussville Tribune staff reports
BIRMINGHAM — The U.S. Attorney’s Office, through Project Safe Neighborhoods, will provide training Wednesday on federal and state firearms prosecution to Birmingham police officers who work with Birmingham’s housing authority or patrol in its communities, announced U.S. Attorney Jay E. Town in a release.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office are providing the training at the request of the Housing Authority of the Birmingham District to help curb gun violence within the agency’s public housing and surrounding communities. The training will be from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday in the City Council Chamber at Birmingham City Hall.
“Training for our state and local partners is a key component of our PSN strategy, and we are especially pleased to be working with the Housing Authority on reducing crime on and near their properties,” Town said. “Our success in both crime prevention and enforcement will rid these communities of their worst offenders while providing a safe environment for the families who live there,” he said.
“We are extremely pleased to begin this partnership with the U.S. attorney to share resources that are designed to protect our citizens,” said HABD President and CEO Michael Lundy. “Protecting our residents is a shared responsibility, and these creative approaches will help us achieve this goal. This is about saving lives and improving the quality of life for thousands of our neighbors in public housing who seek the same peace that we all desire and deserve.”
PSN is a collaborative effort by federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, prosecutors and communities to prevent and deter gang and gun violence nationwide. The Department of Justice began PSN in 2001 and Attorney General Jeff Sessions in October announced steps to strengthen the program, directing all U.S. attorneys to implement a violent crime reduction program incorporating law enforcement and community partnerships, targeted enforcement in high-crime areas, training, and crime-prevention strategies.
HABD Public Safety Director Jeffrey Gorley contacted the U.S. Attorney’s Office seeking new ways to collaborate with law enforcement to address violence in and near public housing in Birmingham. HABD pays for additional police service in its 14 housing communities. Those officers are the High Intensity Community Oriented Police Patrol, or HICOPPS.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office, Jefferson County D.A.’s Office and ATF will train the HICOPPS’ officers, as well as Birmingham officers who have public housing communities on their patrol beats, and investigators in the Birmingham Police Department’s robbery, homicide and crime-scene investigation units.
The training will address federal and state firearms laws and provide instruction on best investigative techniques to facilitate federal charges on certain violent offenses, particularly gun crimes. The training also will address individual’s constitutional rights regarding search and seizure, the right to counsel and the right to remain silent under police questioning.