If you don't know about CAP, now would be a good time to put (205) 251-0111 into your cell phone. You can call CAP if you run out of gas, lock your keys in your car or wind up with a flat tire or dead battery. This is not to say that roadside assistance is the most important thing they do. CAP officers will provide security escorts for anyone who feels uncomfortable walking alone downtown. CAP also acts as eyes and ears for the Birmingham Police Department and as a kind of street team for agencies and organizations who provide services to the homeless. The guys on the bikes do not carry weapons '96 just pepper spray, which is only to be used in defense. CAP training includes CPR certification with military medics, defense training (with instruction on proper use of pepper spray), even bike school conducted by the UAB police force, so that each officer knows how to "ride a bike professionally." A retired police chief teaches a course called "Verbal Judo," in which patrol members learn how to talk to anyone in a state of crisis without letting the conversation escalate into confrontation.
CAP's current patrol area includes the BJCC, Kelly Ingram Park and Linn Park, and all of the services they provide are free '97 or at least free to the individuals who call CAP. The organization is funded by an assessment on property owners in the district. And downtown businesses have invested in the safety patrol since its inception. Operation New Birmingham helped to found CAP following the city ordinance that established the Business Improvement District (BID) in 1995. Following that legislative act, the laws provide for an assessment on the property owners, which is currently .001 of the assessed property value ($1 for every $1,000 dollars of value). This funds the organization, which is non-profit, and allows CAP to provide services free of charge. CAP is governed by a separate board of directors representing property owners within the BID who work to promote the CAP safety program. Although Tuesday's meeting is open to the public, any expansion must be approved by property owners in the proposed expansion area.
To learn more, visit www.capisdowntown.com