Durham police chief, local leaders take stand against gun violence on National Gun Violence Awareness Day

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- Law enforcement leaders across the state joined forces Friday to take a stand against gun violence.

Durham Police Chief C.J. Davis is promising a renewed and effective crack down on violent crimes despite the city council's rejecting her request for new officers.

"Some units will get suspended and some activities will get suspended so we can prioritize our work and make sure we have the resources that we need," Davis asserted at a news conference on Friday. "We will continue to reallocate resources and put them where we need them to address hot spot areas and at least be available to citizens who pay for us to do what we do every day."

"We will not stop until we curb gun violence--hopefully eliminate it--and do what we can to keep our communities safe," Durham Sheriff Clarence Birkhead said.

Friday is National Gun Violence Awareness Day. A day created five years ago in an effort to push for lasting change in America.

"Today leaders of the triangle are taking a strong, united stand on this issue--not just today, every day," Durham Police Chief C.J. Davis said.

In a 4-3 vote on Thursday, the Durham City Council amended the city manager's proposed budget which had included funds for 18 new officer positions; the chief is seeking 72 new officers over the next three years.

Davis says she will pitch the council again next year for new officers.

"The reason we don't need new officers is because we're doing a great job in our community right now," Councilman Charlie Reece explains to ABC11 about his support for the change, which reallocates the funds to raise wages for part-time city workers. "I've voted to have new officers before. We've done in previous budgets but when we did that, clearance rates were low, response times were increasing, and calls for service were increasing. Those were metrics that tell me we need more cops on the street. The data we have now doesn't support it."

Crime analysts at DPD confirm 19 gun-related deaths thus far in 2019; there were 27 total in 2018 and 23 in 2017.
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