The Huntsville Police Department, along with the Huntsville Police Citizens Advisory Council (HPCAC), will host a community forum this month to teach citizens how to interact with officers in case they are stopped or encounter an officer in the community.

The purpose of the forum and a roundtable discussion following the conference is to make police interactions safer for officers and citizens.

"Knowing what to do during a police encounter is critical for everyone's safety and well-being," said Huntsville Police Chief Kirk Giles. "Although it might be inconvenient or frustrating, officers have a number of reasons why they might stop you. We hope you attend this forum to learn more about how to safely and calmly engage during an interaction."

HPCAC works with police to "promote productive police and community interaction and foster mutual trust by assisting the police in achieving a greater understanding of the complex social fabric of the community." The council advises officers on diversity, recruitment, training and discipline.

HPCAC chair Jonathan Rossow said the March forum is a great opportunity to participate in thoughtful dialogue with HPD, learn something new and provide feedback for future police operations.

"Education is an important component of the HPCAC," he said. "We hope the community comes out March 14 to better understand common reasons for routine police stops and how to handle the encounter."

The community forum will be on Tuesday, March 14, at 5:30 p.m. at the North Huntsville Public Library.

To connect with the author of this story or to comment, email

Don't miss out! Subscribe to our newsletter and get our top stories every weekday morning.