Carrboro’s New Community Safety Task Force Aims to Offer Policing Alternatives

The City of Carrboro has announced plans to create a Community Safety Working Group, which will explore alternatives to public and community safety beyond traditional policing.

The initial idea was put forward in June of last year, and the resolution establishing the task force was approved by Carrboro City Council on April 20.

Council member Susan Romaine said these alternatives to traditional policing could include training on non-violence and de-escalation, domestic violence intervention and prevention, youth programs and a team crisis intervention.

“Following the gruesome murder of George Floyd in May 2020, there has been a wave of people in the community urging city council to re-imagine what public safety could and should look like,” Romaine said.

The City is seeking candidates for the task force, which will be made up of five to seven Carrboro residents and two to three council members.

“The idea is to have five to seven residents of Carrboro who have lived experience or professional expertise in areas such as the criminal justice system, social work, public health and community organizing, experience and a expertise that would help promote the idea of ​​exploring alternatives for the security community that go beyond traditional policing, ”said Damon Seils, board member.

Seils said recruiting for the task force will be similar to that of the city’s other advisory boards – go out and encourage residents to participate.

Romaine said Carrboro Housing and Community Services, Police and Recreation, Parks and Cultural Resources would also help the task force.

Once members are appointed, the task force will conduct listening sessions to hear community members talk about their immediate and long-term security needs and interests and educate people about public safety resources. and well-being.

Anna Richards, third vice president of Chapel Hill-Carrboro NAACP, said the task force was needed and it was extremely important to look at how security is being provided.

She said she applauds the effort and that it is beneficial for the city to allow the community to participate in safety matters.

“I think what has come out is that our systems that are supposed to provide security sometimes hurt,” Richards said. “More people know more because of the visibility of some of the tragedies of the past year.”

Romaine said she looks forward to seeing the task force’s next recommendations, which will guide the City’s budget and community investment decisions going forward.

According to the resolution, the task force has one year from the appointment of members to submit its recommendations to the board, but the deadline could be extended by six months if necessary.

The town of Chapel Hill has a similar task force, named the Re-Imagining Community Task Force, which aims to recommend ways to increase public safety and racial equity in Chapel Hill. The task force has completed its own listening sessions and is expected to release its recommendations soon.

Richards said she has done a lot of work on public safety. She said time will show how effective the task force is, but this more in-depth security review is a positive step in the right direction.

“When you know better, you do better,” Richards said.

@DTHCityState | [email protected]

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