Durham: New Policies For The Police Department?

Sep 2, 2014

Recently Durham City Council heard recommendations from the City Manager on how to improve police and community relations.
Credit Jorge Valencia

In Durham, the City Council could vote Tuesday night to change some policies for the police department.

At least two council members suggest the city manager's recent recommendations do not go far enough to improve the relationship between police officers and the community.

Durham Mayor Pro Tem Cora Cole-McFadden spoke on WUNC’s The State of Things Tuesday. She took issue with a recommendation which would allow officers to decide whether they need to get written consent before searching an individual.

"I don’t think we should leave it to the officer’s discretion. I haven’t shared that with the [city] manager, so I hope he understands why I’m saying this," McFadden said, emphasizing that she’s listening carefully to citizens who complained they’ve been stopped arbitrarily, and then searched.

Durham's police chief, Jose Lopez, has said some of the statistics presented to the council don’t accurately reflect the relationships that police officers have with residents.

Pastor Mark-Anthony Middleton of Abundant Hope Christian Church disagrees. He also spoke on The State of Things Tuesday.

“At the other side of these statistics are people’s lives that are being impacted. Forty percent of the population is not hallucinating, and the numbers don’t lie,” Middleton said.

The Durham City Council could vote on policy changes tonight.