Chapel Hill Police Department

Chapel Hill Town Council Receives Update on Bias in Policing

Back in June, the Orange County Bias Free Policing Coalition submitted a petition to the Chapel Hill Town Council with eleven recommendations for addressing racial bias in policing. You may have been wondering what ever happened to that petition. We were. We found out last night.

Chapel Hill-Carrboro NAACP Queries Police Chiefs and Sheriff on Racial Equity

During its regular monthly meeting, the Chapel Hill-Carrboro branch of the North Carolina NAACP hosted Chief Walter Horton of the Carrboro Police Department, Chief Chris Blue of the Chapel Hill Police Department, and Sheriff Charles Blackwood for a discussion of law enforcement issues. A diverse group of more than 50 people attended, including many members of the NAACP and other local social justice advocates. Orange County commissioner and civil rights attorney Mark Dorosin, Chapel Hill Town Council member Maria Palmer, and Carrboro alderperson Damon Seils also attended.

The NAACP solicited questions in advance and posed them to each of the three law enforcement administrators in turn, and then questions were taken from the audience via index card. The questions focused on racial disparities in police stops, searches, and arrests on our streets and in our schools; the implicit bias that contributes to those disparities; de-escalation and use of force; and how to bring complaints to the attention of law enforcement.

Local Law Enforcement Begins Hard Work Toward Racial Equity

It is clear from recent police forums and from experiences shared by people of color in our communities that we have a serious problem with racial equity in policing in Orange County. The most recent example is a guest column by Stephanie Perry in Sunday’s Chapel Hill News (12/21/14). Perry serves with me on the board of Orange County Justice United. We heard other stories like this during the Carrboro community forum on policing in October.

Law enforcement behavior that is disproportionately affecting communities of color is unacceptable to me. It is especially troubling to see that these disparities exist in our communities regardless of how enlightened we think we are. I am cautiously optimistic about the steps I see the Carrboro and Chapel Hill Police Departments taking.

Carrboro

 
 

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