Carrboro, Policing – Funding is Policy-Making


I wonder if our local elected officials are not still missing the point about citizens designing the policing approach in our community?

In the attached article, Carrboro Alderman Sammy Slade quite sensibly expresses caution about the new body camera policy being implemented by the Carrboro Police. What he urges is caution and analysis. Hmm.

Later on, Carrboro Alderman Damn Seils ‘supports their [body cameras] implementation.’ Double hmm.

Look. I’m not an anti-police anarchist. I do not believe the system is broken. Far from it. I just believe it needs to be addressed more effectively. And to be driven by citizens.

I’m not a fool. I understand that the concept of removing what appears to be the current sole authority of police to set their own policy to a situation where it is determined jointly and consensually by police, elected officials and citizens is a huge culture shift.

But. It’s got to start moving. And it ain’t going to start moving until the most important players in the shift get moving themselves. With respect.

The police have no funds that are not allocated by their funding agency. In the case of Carrboro, this is the Carrboro Board of Aldermen. Come budget time (June), you attach conditions to the funding. In this case, a very simple condition, henceforth the Board of Aldermen, not the police, on their own, will take the lead in setting policy for the Carrboro police department.

That’s it. Simple as that.

Citizen design of policing is only going to work if the police are brought along. But the emphasis is on being brought along. They do not have a veto. You don’t agree to the condition, then no funding until you do.

It’s not a question of legislative change. It’s a matter simply of exercising will. And it will not be exercised so long as our Alderpeople act as if they are asking permission of the police to exercise the control they already have.


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