Lawmakers form group to address police-community relationships across N.C.

Lawmakers form group to address police-community relationships across N.C.
October 27
05:30 2016


Rep. Edward “Ed” Hanes Jr. (D-Forsyth) and Rep. Craig Horn (R-Union) announced the formation of an ad-hoc committee of 12 legislators to discuss and propose legislation that will address enhancing police and community relationships statewide.

The group will be comprised of six Democrats and six Republicans, already selected by Hanes and Horne from the House and the Senate. “We want folks to know that it is not all acrimony in the General Assembly,” said Horn.

“I have developed a good relationship with Representative Horn through discussions on education, family, and issues of race,” said Hanes. “He’s been supportive of my efforts to bridge gaps and build relationships in the Assembly.  When the shooting of Mr. [Keith] Scott happened in Charlotte, I contacted Sen. Joel Ford (D-Mecklenburg) and reached out to Craig with a simple question: ‘What can we do?  What should we do as a lawmaking body?’  Since Senator Ford and I were already planning a statewide discussion on the broader issue, I suggested to Craig we do the same internally,” said Hanes.

“I thought it was a great idea,” noted Horn, who is recognized as one of the House leaders in education. “I have a mentee who is an accomplished educator and has become increasingly aggravated by what he perceived to be unfair treatment of African-American citizens by law enforcement.  It was a frustrating moment because I could feel the tension in the air.  I see officers trying to do their jobs and citizens trying to understand but bad things seem to keep happening.  I’m all in for trying to come up with some reasoned solutions that everyone can embrace.”

The group, comprising rural and urban districts, members from both parties and both chambers, will meet twice before the General Assembly reconvenes in January.  Hanes and Horn hope to spark conversation and encourage legislators to be creative and present game-changing solutions.

“One thing I have learned since I have been in the Statehouse is that the General Assembly can do whatever the General Assembly wants to do,” said Hanes.  “It’s all about ‘want to.’  It’s not about ‘can we.’  I believe that we have a group of 12 legislators who want to, and that’s a heck of a start when talking about enhancing police and community relationships. It’s not an easy conversation, but it’s one we’re committed to having, and that’s great for the State.”

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