Policing and Public Safety
Policing and Public Safety
Is there a trust problem between the people of Durham and the police department? Are you satisfied with the department’s responses to issues of use of force, racial profiling, deployment of personnel, searches, and communication with the public?
Durham is a violent city. The city had 44 murders in 2016. There have been 15 to date in 2017.
One of those murder victims was a 7 year old boy. 7 Years Old. Breathe that in. The young boy had barely started his life.
As a father of a 9 year old and a newborn, I can not imagine the pain that his mother must be feeling.
Our police force is not trusted by the community. We’ve had more than our fair share of officer involved shootings. It’s time to change that. I will push to institute a de-escalation training for our officers, such as the one instituted in Salt Lake City, Utah, a city larger than ours. Since 2014, there have been 0 officer involved shootings in that city. There is no reason Durham can not boast that same number.
We have residents that detest and do not feel that the Durham Police will protect them. I will push for stronger community policing ties. Using successful programs such as Miami’s Do The Right Thing program or Chicago’s CeaseFire Programs as successful examples, we must increase the trust of the community in our police officers.
We must review the use of force, perhaps taking advantage of some of the researchers at Research Triangle International that authored a study on racial disparities. That study found that an African American resident has a 12% higher chance than a white driver during the daylight hours. After dark when an officer has a harder time identifying the color of the driver there is no discernible difference in rates of traffic stops between races. To the department’s credit, they have taken the information in the study and have since made training efforts based upon that. The efforts made in the last few years by our force are commendable, however we must better support them to get to the safe city we strive for. We must have a transparent and honest police force with stronger ties to our citizens. To do this, we must get our officers out of the patrol cars, and into the community.
To what degree, if any, should the city cooperate with U.S. Department of Immigration & Customs Enforcement? Should the city become a sanctuary city? If your answer is yes, for whom should the city provide sanctuary and by what means should sanctuary be provided? If your answer is no, please explain your reasons. In either case, please be specific.
The job of the Durham’s Police force is to protect and serve the residents of Durham. As there is no current agreed upon definition of Sanctuary City, this makes stating we should be a Sanctuary City difficult. I support the aspects of ensuring our police are not working as Trump's cronies, much like was decided by Massachusetts courts on July 25th.
If a local law or ordinance is the infraction, then there is no reason to ask for a person’s immigration status. Felonies and Federal laws are where that falls out of our hands. We can not legally stop the Federal government from sending out ICE raids, however we as a local community can make every effort to support our neighbors. Our locally paid officers should be serving our residents, not the whims of the federal government.
Durham should support groups such as El Centro Hispanico and their Faith ID program that provide residents of Durham an ID of some sort when facing a traffic stop or police interaction.
A person shouldn’t be afraid of deportation for going five miles per hour over the speed limit on their way to work. A woman should not be afraid of reporting a sexual assault and being deported. I believe we need to further support our friends and neighbors who are contributing to our community or working towards the betterment of their own lives, by assisting them on a path to citizenship.
Should the city allocate more, less, or about the same money to policing? Please explain your answer. If your answer is less, would you allocate more money to other services to improve public safety?
Once again, the city is on a stronger track after the recent budget vote. We are spending more on policing next year then we did this year. I believe we must continue to increase our public safety budget, but I would use those funds for trainings, including Community Policing, De-Escalation Training, and Drug and Gang Task Force Training. We must also study regional pay, and adjust as necessary to retain our best Public Safety workers.
While we look into the necessary training I point to the Salt Lake City Department has trained their force in De-Escalation Training. Since that training, they have had zero police involved shootings.
We need our police to spend time out of their cars and on the streets. We need to focus on a stronger community policing model. The Police must make connections in the city. Our officers can not be afraid of our citizens and our citizens must not be afraid of those who protect and serve them. There is absolutely no reason that an officer is not a trusted person to every single law abiding person in Durham. A child should look up to the police officers in their community. We need our police in the streets, in the neighborhoods, and meeting the members of the community we serve.
We need to increase the transparency of our Police Force. We are so worried about the litigious world we live in that we forget that people need to trust their officers of the law. We must ensure that our police department is HONEST in all aspects. Honor and Respect must be returned to the Durham Police Force Brand.
I completely support additional funding for our Police Force, however the focus needs to be on training, and retention of our best officers and not just hiring more rookie, inadequately trained, officers to hit a quota.