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Public Safety Plan

Public Safety is not just a police issue, it also entails fire and rescue. In Rocky Mount, we must be prepared to address the strained relationship between the citizens and our public safety departments. I believe that relationship is the counterbalance that can help any community deal with the issues of crime and fire safety and medical readiness. Our city government has a fundamental obligation to ensure its residents are safe, do not live in fear and have uniform access to public safety services.

For too long, city police departments have tried to arrest themselves out of crime.  Arrests alone will not work. There are too many variables like mental health issues, joblessness, lack of varied recreational and leisure resources, deficient educational opportunities, etc.  Our citizens must have access to adequate mental health care, recreational and leisure resources, jobs, and supplemental educational programs; it must be a concerted effort, bringing together municipal, business, religious and non-religious stakeholders.

 

Public Safety – Strengthen the Bond with Citizens

 

1.        Programs like Coffee with a Cop, Chat with the Chief, Elementary Lunch with a Cop, Citizens Police Academy, and Junior Police Academy, etc. are programs that have helped to mend existing wounds, dispel many misconceptions and helped in disseminating pertinent information to citizens and law enforcement.

2.        More walking patrols, officers back on bikes for greater community interaction will be important. We must renew the commitment to beat-based policing and expand community patrols so that officers have an opportunity to get to know the communities in which they serve which, if done right, will strengthen communities.

3.        Greater participation in National Night Out Against Crime will help build community/police relationships

4.        Education

A. Citizens should be educated as to what their legal rights are

B. Citizens should be informed about the economic impact that crime has on the community to help better understand the importance of seeing something and saying something.

C. Law enforcement should be trained in ethnic sensitivity in order to better understand some of the communities they serve.

D. Citizen should be fully educated on how anonymous tips work so they can report crime without fear of retaliation.

5.        Establishing a seven-person Police Accountability Commission with four-year terms. The city council would establish the professional qualifications required to serve, and commissioners could be removed by a two-thirds vote of the city council.

6.        Strengthening the Police Athletic League (P.A.L.) with more funding and resources to help our youth. An active PAL will improve the quality and depth of training that officers receive with respect to youth. Such training and interaction must be instituted to help bring down youth violence and as a tool for conflict resolution.

7.        SRO offices should be assigned a cell phone so that students will fell comfortable texting them issues within the school or around their neighborhood.

 

Revitalization of communities can and will drive down violence. Studies show that lack of opportunity drives violence; when people cannot find work in the legitimate economy, they will seek out illegitimate means to provide for themselves and their families. City government must make community revitalization a major priority. The intellectual currency and city funds must be focused on this critical investment. Rocky Mount can lead the region on this front by:

 

Conducting a neighborhood by neighborhood asset survey to determine strengths and opportunities for investment of resources.

 

A renewed emphasis on building up small businesses, in the neighborhoods, starting with working with banks and other sources of financing to lower barriers to capital.

Eliminating food, medical, mental health and pharmacy deserts.

 

Comprehensive neighborhood-based wrap around job training services to build a pipeline to jobs which pay at least a living wage.

 

A final note:

 

I hope that this initial plan can be an important part of moving our city in the right direction and that it can spark an ongoing conversation on public safety. Please send your thoughts and ideas to our website www.bronsonwilliams.com and we will build on this plan together.


Committee to Elect Bronson Williams for Mayor
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