Community Safety Task Force
Purpose & Responsibilities
In a resolution approved on June 18, 2020, the Town Council expressed its intent “to establish a task force on public safety, in the interest of developing new approaches to public safety beyond policing.”
Over the following months, Council Members Damon Seils, Randee Haven-O'Donnell, and Sammy Slade worked together to discuss a potential structure for the task force and to draft a charge.
The following is the resolution establishing the task force and its charge which was approved on April 20, 2021.
A RESOLUTION ESTABLISHING A COMMUNITY SAFETY TASK FORCE
WHEREAS, on June 18, 2020, the Town Council approved “A Resolution on Next Steps in Advancing Racial Equity in Law Enforcement and Public Safety in Carrboro”; and
WHEREAS, Section 5 of that resolution expressed the Town Council’s intent “to establish a task force on public safety, in the interest of developing new approaches to public safety beyond policing”; and recognized that “investments in public safety and in programs and services that keep communities healthy and safe must advance racial equity, be grounded in community demands, and be informed by authentic engagement with grassroots and community organizations”; and
WHEREAS, Council Members Haven-O’Donnell, Seils, and Slade worked together to draft a charge for the task force;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Town Council hereby establishes a “Community Safety Task Force” with the following charge:
Section 1. Background: In a resolution on June 18, 2020, the Town Council expressed its intent to establish a task force on public safety, “in the interest of developing new approaches to public safety beyond policing.” The Town Council recognized that “investments in public safety and in programs and services that keep communities healthy and safe must advance racial equity, be grounded in community demands, and be informed by authentic engagement with grassroots and community organizations.”
Section 2. Purpose: The Community Safety Task Force will review best practices and consider a range of issues related to the safety and well-being of Carrboro residents, including but not limited to racial disparities in law enforcement and the criminal legal system; law enforcement and court diversion and deflection programs; alternatives to relying on the Town’s public safety professionals for human service and wellness needs; and coordination with the County and other jurisdictions to enhance programs and services that keep communities safe.
Through a series of shared learning sessions, the task force will review and educate the public about existing institutional and community-based public safety and wellness resources; and learn from residents and experts about immediate and long-term safety needs and interests that can be more substantially addressed and met through alternative resources. The task force may also consider issues related to the Town’s ongoing efforts to achieve its bias-free policing goals, as well as recruiting, training, and retaining a racially equitable public safety workforce.
The task force will provide recommendations to the Town Council for additional services to enhance community safety and well-being that rely on prevention and intervention strategies as alternatives to policing and the criminal legal system—including but not limited to community nonviolence and de-escalation training programs; domestic violence intervention and prevention; homelessness prevention; youth-oriented programs and school-based programs that have been shown to increase safety and security; substance use disorder prevention and support; on-call crisis response that would allow certain calls for police assistance to be handled by other trained professionals, such as social workers or crisis counselors; and other related approaches.
Section 3. Structure: The membership of the task force shall consist of 5 to 7 residents of Carrboro, appointed by the Town Council, who have professional expertise and/or lived experience in the criminal legal system, human services delivery, social work, public health and harm reduction, community building in marginalized populations, or related content areas. The membership of the task force shall also include 2 to 3 council members designated by the Town Council.
A staff resource team will assist in the work of the task force. This team will consist of staff liaisons, designated by the town manager, from the Housing and Community Development Department, the Police Department, the Recreation, Parks & Cultural Resources Department, and/or other staff as determined by the manager.
Section 4. Timeline: Within 12 months after the initial appointment of its members, the task force shall submit concrete, actionable recommendations to the Town Council that will promote racial equity in law enforcement and the criminal legal system and enhance the safety and well-being of all Carrboro residents. Alternatively, if the task force determines that it needs more time to complete its work, the task force may extend its timeline up to six months and shall notify the Town Council of the extension.
Section 5. Impact: Recommendations from the task force will inform the Town’s future budget and community investment decisions.
BE IT ALSO RESOLVED that the town clerk will receive applications for appointment to the task force from Carrboro residents for a period of not less than two weeks, and the Town Council will make appointments from this pool of applicants no later than six weeks from the date of this resolution.
This the 20th day of April, 2021.
Appointments to the Community Safety Task Force
George Barrett - resident with Professional Expertise – Marian Cheek Center and community building in marginalized populations.
Barbara Fedders - resident with Professional Expertise – UNC Law Professor.
Ben Gear - resident with Professional Expertise – Program Coordinator of Reintegration Support Services and lived experience.
Madison Hayes - resident with Professional Expertise – Refugee Community Partnership and community building in marginalized populations.
Frances Henderson - resident with Professional Expertise – Director of Dispute Settlement Center.
Benjamin Blaisdell - resident with Professional Expertise – Assistant Professor of Education (appointed 9/13/2022)
Wamiq Chowdhury- resident with Professional Expertise- Attorney (appointed 9/13/2022)
Elected Officials: Mayor Damon Seils, Council Member Barbara Foushee, and Council Member Sammy Slade.