Government of Birmingham
Birmingham operates under a Mayor-council form of government. As the county seat, it is one of 33 separately incorporated municipalities in Jefferson County. The Birmingham City Council is the legislative branch of Birmingham city government; all official actions must be approved by a majority vote of the Council. The Birmingham City Council is divided into nine committees, with three council members on each committee. Committee chairpersons are assigned by the president of the council. Each committee is responsible for hearing items that fall under its jurisdiction and then making recommendations to the Council as a whole. The nine 2001-2005 Council committees are: Public Safety, Finance, Administration, Cultural Arts/Park and Recreation, Transportation, Economic Development/Job Recruitment, Education and Community Services, Planning and Zoning and Public Improvements and Beautification.
Together, the mayor and the council members work to improve the quality of life for all Birmingham residents by improving neighborhoods and communities; providing clean streets; ensuring public safety through continuous support and oversight of law enforcement, crime reduction, fire and rescue; and ensuring economic growth by supporting Birmingham businesses and industries, helping them develop, grow, and maintain cooperative ties to the city. The city’s employees and officials also ensure smooth operation within its annual budget of approximately $298 million.
With five precincts and hundreds of officers, the Birmingham Police Department is the largest in Alabama. Headed by Chief of Police Annetta W. Nunn, the first female and second African-American in the city to hold such an esteemed position, the department maintains a focus on community policing. Its community prevention officers provide support, resources and advice to the citizens and businesses regarding crime prevention issues and strategies.
The department also employs a team of detectives in the following areas: auto theft, burglary, business services, family services, homicide, project ICE, and robbery. Protection is also offered in the form of motor scouts, highway patrol, mounted police, K-9 unit and the bomb unit. The Vice and Narcotics unit, one of the most professional and highly trained narcotics units in Alabama as well as the entire Southeastern United States, investigates a wide variety of crimes, including illegal alcohol sales, gambling complaints, prostitution and cigarette and alcohol sales to minors, among other duties. A variety of youth services programs are also administered by the police department, including Drug Abuse Resistance and Training (D.A.R.E.), Gang Resistance Education and Training (G.R.E.A.T.), Police Athletic Teams (P.A.T.), Partners In Neighborhood Growth, Inc. (P.I.N.G.) and School Resource Officer (S.R.O.).
The Birmingham Fire and Rescue Service provides rapid, reliable, professional emergency services to the citizens of the City of Birmingham. In order to assist residents efficiently, the Fire and Rescue Service employs 700 people and has four battalions at 30 stations throughout the city. It provides coverage for an area of 163 miles with an annual budget in excess of $60 million. The department is also responsible for emergency medical services for the community. The fire department also provides non-emergency services such as community education and fire prevention, safety and inspection.
Birmingham takes great pride in its civic duties, evident from the mayor’s office to the police department and the fire department. These local officials hold the public trust in highest esteem and provide first-rate services to the community, helping to make it safe and secure for generations to come.