Fayetteville mayor proposes police oversight expansion

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- The demand for police reform continues in the wake of nationwide protests and demonstrations. In Fayetteville, those sentiments are echoed.

During the weekend, bikers protested inequality within the justice system and more demonstrations took place with residents sounding the alarm on police brutality and the urgency of voting.

This is all a result of the fractured relationship between law enforcement and the black community.

"It's time that we start to have a real conversation about reform and change. We need to make and overhaul those institutions that don't respect the lives of black males in particular," Mayor Mitch Colvin said.

He has established two committees that will provide more oversight for law enforcement. According to Colvin, the internal review committee will review everything under the city umbrella including the police department. The external committee will review the city's policies on race relations and social equity.

He's hoping to look further into when body cameras worn by officers should activate.

"Even the footage on a body cam, people don't realize is not able to be released without a court order," Colvin said. "That's a barrier. By the time it goes through that judicial process, the trust is broken with the community. Oftentimes we bear the brunt of that on the local level thinking we're hiding something."

He told ABC11 that these efforts can't be done without the support of lawmakers. Colvin wants all city employees to undergo annual racial equity training. For the 435 police officers within the department, he is recommending they have access to mental-health professionals.

"We want to make sure we're out front and that they have the ability to handle any mental struggles they may have. We want to make sure that this doesn't carry over to their job," Colvin said.

The Mayor plans to ask city council to consider using 5 percent of the police department's annual budget to enhance community policing next Monday during the work session.
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