Veteran Cop Launches 'Paisley's Promise' to Transform Police Training in Birmingham, Alabama

BIRMINGHAM, Ala., Feb. 15, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Citing potentially deadly deficits in law enforcement training reform, a veteran cop has launched a non-profit organization called Paisley's Promise, Inc., to transform police training in Birmingham, and ultimately throughout the nation. According to Allen Poythress Jr., a 16-year veteran police officer and founder of Paisley's Promise, the organization's overarching goal is to help bring transparency, trust, and accountability back to law enforcement through comprehensive, scenario-based training.

"There's an increasingly volatile, and sometimes deadly divide of trust between the city's law enforcement agencies and the public," says Poythress, an Iraqi War Veteran and current military police sergeant in the Army Reserve. "Paisley's Promise will be working tirelessly in Birmingham and statewide to help bridge that divide with real-world, practical training that can be successfully implemented right away."

Poythress says there's a very personal reason for creating Paisley's Promise, along with co-founders Tony L. Washington and Robert Sandusky. "I promised my daughter, Paisley Elizabeth, 6, that she'd never have to worry about being profiled or pulled over just for being black. And while I didn't go into detail with her, I don't want her going through what most people of color have experienced at the hands of law enforcement," he said. "To fulfill that promise, the next generation of officers must be well prepared, highly trained, educated, empathetic, and diverse."

Among the key training topics addressed by the Paisley Foundation are "de-escalation" techniques to avoid the use of force or deadly force, mental health awareness, and social work training to properly assist homeless suspects, including those suffering from addictions. "We'll also be lobbying to bring diversity back into law enforcement, revamp the hiring process so people with biases such as racism, sexism, homophobia, etc., are properly vetted, and strengthen whistleblower protection so people won't be afraid to speak out," he added.

According to a 2021 Washington Post-ABC News poll, six in 10 Americans believe more should be done to hold police accountable for mistreatment of Black people. "And Birmingham is no exception," points out Poythress. "All too often, minorities are very hesitant, or refuse calling the police out of fear they will be viewed as the criminal rather than the victim. And who can blame them, when you consider the excessive use of force they've either witnessed first-hand or viewed in the media."

The Birmingham native, whose lifelong goal was to become a police officer, says it comes down to training reform and responsible hiring. "For example, police officers today aren't held accountable for profiling. There's also no premium placed on possessing strong social or de-escalation skills," he said. "And while there's no standardized training nationwide, officers are generally instructed to, "Enforce the law, utilize necessary force, write reports, and use deadly force when necessary. I want the last line to read, 'Use deadly force ONLY as a last resort.' Our mission is to expand Paisley's Promise nationally, so we never have to witness another 'I can't breathe' tragedy, or a suspect getting shot in the back five times for running away."

For more information about the Paisley Foundation, or ways to help support its ongoing training programs, visit or call 1-205-585-5242.

Related Images

Image 1: Officer Allen Poythress and daughter, Paisley.

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Officer Allen Poythress and daughter, Paisley.