The evidence that Greensboro City Manager Tai Jaiyeoba is quietly but efficiently defunding the police is piling up.

The City Council voted to raise the starting salaries for police officers to $57,000, in order to make Greensboro competitive with surrounding jurisdictions.

Jaiyeoba’s budget, despite increasing spending by $60 million, only raised police starting salaries to $52,400.

To put this in perspective, Jaiyeoba works directly for the majority of the City Council, not individual councilmembers. In this case, Jaiyeoba’s employer, the City Council, directed him to raise the starting salary for police officers to $57,000 and he did not.

At the Tuesday, June 6 meeting, the City Council was told that the Police Department was down to one backup vehicle.

Assistant City Manager Larry Davis said, “One fender bender and we are out of police cars.”

The reason given was that Greensboro had ordered Ford hybrid cars and Ford didn’t deliver.  The idea that the only possible car a Greensboro police officer could drive is a Ford hybrid is absurd on its face.  Mayor Nancy Vaughan questioned the wisdom of that decision.  But no further explanation was given.

After Jaiyeoba had been city manager for four months, he presented his first budget, which included the equivalent of an 11.69-cent tax increase.  When the City Council balked at that huge tax increase, Jaiyeoba lowered the tax increase to the equivalent of 8.69 cents – still the largest in the history of Greensboro – and cut funding and personnel from one Greensboro department: The Police Department had eight positions for sworn officers cut.

This year Jaiyeoba made that eight officer cut look like small potatoes by cutting 30 sworn officers from the 2023-2024 budget and converting 10 sworn positions to unsworn positions – for a total reduction in the authorized force of sworn police officers to 40.  So, over two years, Jaiyeoba has reduced the number of authorized sworn police officers by nearly 50.

Over a year ago, on April 7, 2022, the City Council voted to spend $1.1 million in American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds to upgrade security at Police Department facilities.  This was to include more cameras, lighting and fencing.

The City Council action was in response to a police car being set on fire and an officer being assaulted at Greensboro Police Headquarters.

The fencing is still tied up in engineering and inspections, according to Assistant City Manager Trey Davis. As most developers can tell you, a project can get tied up in engineering and inspections for eons. Projects can also sail through engineering and inspections if the wind is right, and the wind is usually right for city projects.  So what is holding up another directive from the City Council?

In another instance that boggles the mind, in November 2021, several months before Jaiyeoba became Greensboro City Manager on Feb. 1, 2022, the City Council voted to buy 20 additional police cars in order to begin a five-year process of providing take-home police cars for all patrol officers.  So far, according to Davis, 40 cars have been purchased, but in over 18 months not a single car has been provided to a police officer.

This takes slow-walking an initiative to an entirely new level – perhaps no-walking would be more accurate.

To sum it up, Jaiyeoba has reduced the number of authorized sworn police officers by 48 in his 18 months as city manager.  On his watch, the city has not been able to put one take-home police car on the street and is down to one back-up police car for the entire force.  And for some unexplained reason, police facilities cannot even get security fencing despite the City Council authorizing it over a year ago.