MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — The 23rd annual law enforcement training summit in Montgomery took a moment to honor fallen officers Thursday.
Law enforcement leaders say many challenges remain in the field, especially when it comes to having enough officers to deal with increased crime in some cities.
Greenville’s Police Chief Justin Lovvorn says being fully staffed has been a concern for many departments across the state.
“We’re always looking for manpower, just like most other agencies, trying to find ways to promote law enforcement and get those good people in there. You still don’t want to take just anyone. You need good quality law enforcement, and you don’t want to bring down your standard. If you have to be shorthanded, you just be a little bit shorthanded,” Lovvorn said.
This comes at a time when some cities in the state are experiencing an uptick in murders. Birmingham Police data shows homicides are up by about 33% compared to this time last year.
Dothan Police say they’ve seen 10 homicides this year so far, with a total of nine reported in all of 2021.
In Mobile, however, police are reporting a downward trend — with 36 murders compared to 45 last year.
Attorney General Steve Marshall says he thinks more support for law enforcement would make an impact in drawing people to the field.
“Here’s the reality. We ask law enforcement to risk their lives for total strangers. It’s a unique person that’s willing to do that to begin with. If we don’t make them feel valued, demonstrate the importance of what they do, then it becomes very hard to convince someone to do their job,” Marshall said.
So far in 2022, nine officers in Alabama have died in the line of duty–five due to COVID-19– according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.