Is Carrboro targeting people of color?

So I am writing because between 6 and 11 Carrboro Police cars have been sitting in front of my house for the past 90 minutes conducting a "license check".  I live on Barnes Street and it is predominantly non white.  I have owned a house here for 7 years and never had this much police presence here even when we worked with the CPD community officers to help with gang violence.

 

I have a lot of respect for Carrboro Police and have dealt with them first hand on many issues, but tonight has been a different story. When I approached them from my yard to ask what was going on, I was met with the polite but aggressive responses that included..." What , are we bothering you?'

 

I replied, "Yes, you have woken up my children and there are 8 police cars sitting directly in front of my house and the lights are flashing in my windows."

These officers were by no means sympathetic nor friendly and just now - at 12:15am with the lights still illuminating inside of my house I went outside and they pointed and laughed at me. 

 

I of course realize these officers are just doing their jobs...so my frustration now is directly at whoever is telling them that this is how our Carrboro tax dollars are being spent. License checks in lower income areas.  Is this our Carrboro money is beng spent.  Dissapointing. 

 I  

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I forgot to add that my neighbors say that this is not uncommon in lower income areas and areas where people of color live and work...

live blogging... the  "1 hour check" has now gone well over 2 hours....

Thanks, Ben, for posting this concern which I share. From what Chief Hutchison tells me, "checking stations" are done throughout town. I believe it is considered a standard police practice. However, I share your question on whether it is a good use of resources. I am particularly concerned that it would be set up in a residential neighborhood at midnight, particularly with such a significant police presence.I am also concerned about the unfriendly attitude you saw in the officers. We expect, and typically receive, a very high standard of professionalism and courtesy from our officers.When there was a similar checkpoint on a Friday afternoon on Pathway Drive in May, I asked about this policy. Here is part of the reply which speaks to the question of targeting:

"G.S. 20-16.3A specifies that the placement of checking stations should be random or statistically indicated and that agencies should avoid placing checking stations repeatedly in the same location or proximity. We have chosen our checking station locations based on complaints received from residents, officers’ observations during patrol, and information gleaned from incident and traffic accident reports. A partial list of the intersections throughout town that have been identified as possible checking station locations follows: Manor Ridge Drive and Willow Oak Lane, Fowler Street and Broad Street, Lorraine Street and James Street, Morningside Drive and Spring Valley Road, Davie Road and Colson Street, Jones Ferry Road and Laurel Avenue, Lake Hogan Farm Road and Lake Manor Road, Cobblestone Drive and Rock Garden Road, Shelton Street and Lindsay Street, Rogers Road and Tallyho Drive, Blueridge Road and Morningside Drive, Old Fayetteville Road and W. Poplar Avenue, N. Greensboro Street and Robert Hunt Drive, Hillsborough Road and Bruton Drive, and Pathway Drive and Tripp Farm Road."I will ask the police chief to follow up with you on this. 

Not long ago, I got stopped at a license check on a Saturday morning outside Lake Hogan Farms. The officer could not have been more courteous, and I enjoyed the opportunity to interact with him.

I ride a bicycle most of the time, and from that viewpoint I regularly witness dangerous driving practices by motorists. I wonder how many of those drivers are unlicensed, and I am grateful to our police department for checking. 

Thanks Dan - very helpful - and yes - I have always had great experiences dealing with our police department.

I'm sure the officers are not thrilled to be assigned this duty at midnight either, i just didn't realize that Carrboro spent that much money on check stations regularly.  It feels very unCarrboro to me.

I just wanted to thank Ben for posting about this and Dan for responding so informatively. I always envisioned OP as a good resource for frustrarted residents who need answers from elected and appointed officials. 

I am also grateful to Ben and Dan. I find it distressing that the police who work in Carrboro, of all places, would be rude to residents. There are also serious questions to be addressed about the whole idea of these checkpoints. I hope we get a response here on OP from Chief Hutchison.James Coley

From the CPD report on this matter:"Since the PD started conducting checking station in 2009, we have conducted twenty-five checking stations at different locations within the town limits. Three (3) of them in 'low income and non white neighborhoods' [in Mr. Davis' words]. The remaining neighborhoods are 'high income'. The checking stations are ways to continue to provide traffic safety and to do preventative enforcement instead of reactive enforcement. The plan is systematically drawn up and provided to us by the Governor Highway Safety Commission, the locations are randomly drawn as well."We do not target any racial or ethnic group for enforcement but neither do we avoid any racial or ethnic group either.  The checking stations are operated in a purely race/ethnicity blind manner. 

I have a lot of confidence in the CPD as far as not targeting people on the basis of race or ethnicity. But I am still concerned about the report by Mr. Davis that he was treated rudely. It is not such a big deal when a bank teller or a waiter is rude to you, but when a police officer, entitled to use force and carrying firearms, is rude, it is a big deal. James Coley

Mr. Mayor this sounds like a cover  your butt reply to a citizen's concern given the amount of time (Monday afternoon or 48 + hours later) you have had to check into the matter.There has been no response to two of the conerns and that is police politeness and this parent's concern of a large police present that awoke his children all for a late night check point? How about some results being posted from the check point?

Mr. Mulkey,Out of the issues raised by Mr. Davis, the one that concerned me most was the accusation of racial profiling.  It was also the only one of these issues that could be quickly addressed by reference to objective data.  Does rudeness concern you more than racial profiling?  As for your expectation that I should have responded in less than 48 hours, please refer to the Orange Politics Community Guidelines:http://orangepolitics.org/about/guidelines You might particularly take note of the following: "Please do not demand responses (from elected officials, local media, the editors, or others) to your comments. No-one has any official obligation to read or respond to what is written."Because I have spent the last 9 days tending to a family member who is in the hospital recovering from surgery, I first became aware of this whole issue (and this discussion on OrangePolitics) when I got a short report from Town staff about it, which my email account indicates that I recieved at 10:14 AM Monday.  According to the OP time-stamp I responded on OrangePolitics at 12:48pm the same day.  So I took 2 hours and 34 minutes to respond.Considering that the Community Guidelines expressly do NOT require any response at all and the fact that the well-being of my family is considerably more important to me than your curiousity about (alleged) police rudeness, I think 2:34 is not such a bad response time, even though the response was limited to only objective information. 

When I wrote my posts, I was unfamiliar with these type of checks occuring in residential neighborhoods.  Alderman Coleman reached out and provided some info (above) and Mayor Chilton responded as well.  The only info I had were comments made to me during this check from people in my neighborhood and my first hand viewing of the event.  Carrboro has a long track record of community outreach  to diverse groups of residents, so that was part of my confusion as to why we needed10 police cars in a residential neighborhood at 11:30 at night. But I would say that facts are more accurate than hearsay so thats why I appreciate the responses from town officials I also received a voicemail today from the CPD reaching out to me regarding the event. So while I may not personally understand this expenditure of tax resources, I can appreciate the openess and communication from town officials and the police department. - That at least,... in my respone to a previous comment of mine,...does feel like Carrboro. I plan to follow up with the CPD and will be happy to share whatever info I get from them. 

I just spoke with Captain Lamb at Carrboro Police Department and he reiterated what Mayor Chilton stated:

"Since the PD started conducting checking
station in 2009, we have conducted twenty-five checking stations at
different locations within the town limits. Three (3) of them in 'low
income and non white neighborhoods' The remaining
neighborhoods are 'high income'. The checking stations are ways to
continue to provide traffic safety and to do preventative enforcement
instead of reactive enforcement. The plan is systematically drawn up and
provided to us by the Governor Highway Safety Commission, the locations
are randomly drawn as well."

 

He also explained that:

The CPD decide randomly the locations the day before the checks happen and so they don't have time to notify residents that will be affected. 

The checks earn the CPD points in the Governor Highway Safety Commission program that go towards earning them equipment and certifications.

The standard protocol is to have 4 officers working the checking station, so when the number of cars increased, it was due to other officers assisting a particular situation, or other agencies stopping by to observe.

(There were up to 11 cars at this at one point - but the number fluctuated from 4 cars to 11. The comings and goings of these cars kept things lively)

So, hopefully this information helps others when the next checking station is in their neighborhood.

 

I feel like my questions have been answered quickly and openly and I appreciate that.

sorry - I was not logged in

I am a white woman  and I live on Old Fayetteville Rd and I have had these check points set up at the end of my driveway twice.  The first one a couple of years ago and was  late at night.  I found out about it when the blue lights where shining in my bedroom window and woke me up and I went out to investigate.  As I recall they were polite to me.  The second time was a couple of months ago in the middle of the day.  They were there when I arrived home and I had to show my license and registration to get into my driveway.  So my experince would agree with the report from the CPD.     

A press releae from CPD.  My emphasis added in bold:  "Suspect Arrested in Daytime Residential Break-ins"Lydriquez Jamel Blount, 22, of 404 Jones Ferry Rd., Apt. D-18 in Carrboro, was arrested by the Carrboro Police Department on August 2, 2011 and charged with multiple counts of felony breaking and entering and felony larceny. Blount initially came to the attention of officers after he was stopped at a traffic checkpoint conducted on June 24, 2011 by the Carrboro Police Department. It was discovered that Blount had two outstanding felony warrants from Durham and Beaufort Counties for pawning stolen property. At the time of his arrest, his fingerprints were taken and entered into a fingerprint database. Latent evidence from break-ins led to his being identified as a suspect."Blount is charged with four counts of felony breaking and entering and felony larceny. He was held in the Orange County Jail under a $25,000 bond. Further investigation and stolen property recoveries from Blount’s residence have identified Blount as being involved in 14 residential break-ins in Carrboro, Chapel Hill and UNC Campus. The investigation is continuing

Bold lettered point taken Mr. Mayor. :)-I had actually posted a thanks to the CPD here on OP just a few minutes before you posted that. and I just wanted to add  - my original post was a question posed late Friday night/early Sat morning- but I did not request Mayor Chilton to respond in some certain time frame. Alderman Coleman responded in less than 5 hours, the Carrboro Police called me Monday, and Mayor Chilton responded with concrete info Monday. This is incredibly responsive government and answers to the questions I had. I couldn't have asked for more than that.  I still think a quick preemptive note or knock on the door would have prevented muchof this discussion. I think it still could in the future.But I certainly appreciate town government and police officials immediately reaching out to citizens concerns.

 

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