Hanes, Ford call for meeting of black lawmakers on law enforcement training

State Rep. Ed Hanes Jr. (D-Forsyth)

Hanes, Ford call for meeting of black lawmakers on law enforcement training
July 14
08:45 2016


State Sen. Joel Ford (D-Mecklenberg) and State Rep. Ed Hanes Jr. (D-Forsyth) on Monday called for a joint meeting between the Black Legislative Caucus and the law enforcement officials in charge of training and standards for every law enforcement agency in North Carolina.

The meeting would include the various entities, including the N.C. Sheriff’s Association, the N.C. Community College system, liaisons from the Governor’s Office,  and the N.C. Highway Patrol.   The groups would meet with the N.C. Black Legislative Caucus to establish an appropriate paradigm toward improving officer training and preventing situations where deadly force is considered and used.

“We need to have an open dialogue with the law enforcement training staff,” said Ford.  “The tragic incidents we have witnessed this week in Louisiana, Minnesota and Texas, as well as with the Jonathan Ferrell case right here in Charlotte, showcases the clear problems we have in our society when it comes to race relations and law enforcement.”

Hanes said:  “I believe we need to be proactive in North Carolina. We all can talk about leadership and working together, but we need to follow it up.  We need to engage in the training procedures that will allow our officers to disengage without having to resort to deadly force.”

“I believe if you want to make a difference in how our citizens interact with law enforcement, it must start with a review of training and standards,” said Ford.  “If the African-American community wants to impact this process then it must start by having an open, honest dialogue within the community.  That must continue not only with the hundreds of law enforcement agencies across the state, but also with the people who train our law enforcement officers.”

“I think it would be productive to hear from our sheriffs, our highway patrol, and our local and State law enforcement agencies.

We need to understand how they are training their officers, what they believe needs to change, and what they need in the way of community and State support so that their training positively impacts their ability to protect and serve,” Hanes said.

The legislators are currently drafting bi-partisan legislation that will address hiring, screening, and potential misconduct.

“We agree with every officer in the nation who says the vast majority of law enforcement do their jobs the right way,” Ford said.  “We also understand that best practices in hiring and firing standards must be continually updated. We want to give them the tools to hire only the best.”

“North Carolina can’t afford to stand silent while our officers remain under suspicion due to lack of support for culture updating within their ranks,” Hanes said.  “Senator Ford and I intend to bring communities and political par-ties together on this issue that must be addressed before tragedy revisits our state.”

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