When you imagine safety and justice, what comes to mind? Our city is in the process of hiring a police chief, and we have an opportunity to demand a police chief – and a city – that is committed to safety, justice and well-being for all of Greensboro’s residents regardless of documentation status, housing, experiences with addiction, mental illness, sexuality, gender, race, and religion.
We deserve a police chief that prioritizes justice over punishment, that will direct their officers to not engage in “broken windows” or “quality-of-life” style policing that has led to mass incarceration & has disproportionately affected Black people, particularly those marginalized by gender and class. We deserve a police chief that holds their officers accountable and is willing to share power with other agencies that work to help, not harm; who seeks to ensure that the training officers receive increase safety for all of Greensboro’s residents – not increase the likelihood of harm or adopt a ‘shoot-first’ mentality. We want this, and much, much more.
Given that the past three police chiefs have had controversial records, we want a hiring process that includes a public forum with the finalists held by an independent moderator, in addition to pulling data to be shared with the public that allows us to evaluate their past performance and gives us insight into how they might act moving forward.
We are fully aware that our demands and visions for safety are not quick fixes, that they require long-term work that involves the police department, the city, and beyond – and get to the root causes of the social issues we face. We want a police chief who will work to earn our trust by concretely working towards these things and be an ally with alongside us in working towards the systemic transformations of the police department and the city we call home.
We hope that you sign this letter and join us in asking that the city fight for a police chief and a future that Greensboro deserves.