NC Police Officer Opens Up About Mistreatment of Black Men by Police

Shaunte Southern is a Sergeant in Gaston County, North Carolina. He has served primarily with patrol and the SWAT team. In a recent essay he wrote for The Undefeated, he opens up about racism in law enforcement. He writes, “[t]o be honest with you, I think that African-American males are treated differently by law enforcement, and that’s my honest opinion. I think this fear of black men is real. As a black officer, sometimes you feel like people expect or want you to pick a side- when in fact you can be both pro-black or pro-police.” He traces this fear of Black men back to historical depictions of Black men as dangerous. Despite this sobering belief about our past and present, Southern expresses hopefulness about the future of relationships between law enforcement and the public. Though he believes that greater transparency has made it easier for police to hold each other accountable, he notes that more of this accountability is needed. He hopes that police officers will find more opportunities to interact with community members outside of their traditional roles, and that the public will be willing to learn more about the challenges officers face. Read the full essay here.

Article Highlights Changes Necessary to Prevent Excessive Use of Force in Police Departments

As the topic of police brutality becomes more widely discussed, police departments are taking proactive steps to reduce excessive use of force. In a recent article by the Washington Post, authors examine what it takes to reduce deadly shootings. Some measures being adopted by police departments include the adoption of clear strong policies, adequate ongoing training that provides opportunities to practice in scenario-based exercises, and changing the culture of departments to reward successful de-escalation. The article describes various police departments that have been successful in reducing the use of force using these strategies. To learn more, click here.

The New Law and Order: Working Towards Equitable and Community-Centered Policing in North Carolina

The North Carolina Commission on Racial and Ethnic Disparities (NCCRED), the Wake Forest Journal of Law & Policy, and the Wake Forest School of Law Criminal Justice Program, present “The New Law and Order: Working Towards Equitable and Community-Centered Policing in North Carolina” on Friday, Nov. 3, 2017, from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., in the Worrell Professional Center, Room 1312. The event is free and open to the public. Four hours of Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credit from the North Carolina Bar Association has been approved.
Click for more information on the event and registration.

Campaign Aims to Reduce Use of Police Officers in Schools

On September 5, 2017, Donald Trump revoked the program DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). DACA was originally established under the Obama administration and allowed individuals who entered the United States as minors to receive a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation.  The revocation puts thousands of undocumented students at risk for deportation.  For those currently in the program, their permits will start to expire in March 2018 – all Dreamers (those protected by DACA) will lose status by March 2020.
In response, the Advancement Project and Puente Movement Arizona have teamed up to fight the revocation. Puente recently launched a campaign – #CopsOuttaCampus – to remove school resource officers from Phoenix Union High School. Arizona state law requires officers to ask about a student’s immigration status once they’re arrested, so the only way to protect undocumented students is to get cops off of school campus. The Advancement Project works to support the campaign as well as the general effort to dismantle the school-to-prison and school-to-deportation pipeline.
To learn more, check out #CopsOuttaCampus on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

5th Annual 2017 Law Enforcement Summit on Heroin and Fentanyl

The fifth annual Law Enforcement Summit on Heroin and Fentanyl, hosted by NC Harm Reduction, was last week, as reported by News and Observer.  Advocates and members of law enforcement from across North Carolina participated in the summit, which was held at N.C. Museum of History

Presenters gave valuable information on the dangerous impacts on increased fentanyl use and the real risk this drug creates for our communities.  According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) fentanyl is a “powerful synthetic opioid analgesic that is similar to morphine but is 50-100 times more potent.” Presenters from as far away as Massachusetts, offered first hand accounts of the programs they are successfully using to divert the drug addicted to treatment.

Read a full article on this valuable summit.

Proposed Legislation to Require De-escalation Training for Police

Rep. Gwen Moore (D-Wis) has sponsored federal legislation that would require police “to be trained on de-escalation techniques that focus on preserving life.”  We strongly support this bill and her efforts and will track it’s progress at the federal level.

The legislation builds on recommendations from the Police Executive Research Forum which has issued a report entitled “Guiding Principles on Use of Force.”

The bill requires jurisdictions receiving federal Byrne grants to provide training in:

  • the use of alternative non-lethal methods;
  • verbal and physical tactics to minimize the need for the use of force, with an emphasis on communication, negotiation, de-escalation techniques, providing the time needed to resolve the incident safely for everyone;
  • the use of the lowest level of force;
  • techniques that provide all officers with awareness and recognition of mental health and substance abuse issue
  • principles of using distance, cover and time when approaching and managing critical incidents;
  • crisis intervention strategies