Police reform in WNC
Police reform in WNC
We are the NAACP of Western North Carolina. Our efforts are intended to address the longstanding adversarial relationship between police and communities, particularly those of color. We choose to have police departments that work collaboratively and democratically with all the communities they serve. Increased transparency, accountability, and fairness will lead to increased community trust and confidence in all aspects of public safety.
1. Community Policing
Community policing is built on finding ways to optimize positive contact between police officers and community members.
From the current George Floyd-Black Lives Matter protests to the earlier uprisings from Baltimore to Ferguson, the response by the police was highly militarized. They greeted nonviolent protesters with military-grade weapons and vehicles. Too, there is an overuse SWAT teams serving routine search and arrest warrants. This type of response must end.
3. Appoint Independent Prosecutors
One way that police officers can begin to be held more accountable for their actions is by substituting an Independent Council grand jury for the current District Attorney’s process in all instances of officers involved in shootings.
4. Set Up Civilian Complaint Review Boards
Establish a complaint review board composed half of community representatives and half of local elected officials chaired by a mutually agreed upon legal representative. Community oversight of police is crucial to establishing greater accountability and this is especially true in communities of color.
5. Increased Training for Police Officers
The minimum number of hours for police training in NC is 620. It takes 1,528 hours to become a licensed barber. Police training must include anti-bias/prejudice training. Black and Latino people face discrimination at all levels of the criminal justice system. Police officers should be required to explore how their implicit biases, unconscious prejudices, and stereotypes may cause them use violence against people of color disproportionately.
Training must also include a primary emphasis on de-escalation of tension.
This statement draws heavily on materials from the ACLU and the Institute for Policy Studies.