If the North Carolina state Senate come through, the response to minor traffic accidents in Greensboro will be markedly different.

At the work session on Thursday, July 15, Mayor Nancy Vaughan said that after talking with Greensboro Police Chief Brian James about the amount of manhours the Police Department spends on minor traffic accidents, she had a bill introduced in the legislature to allow non-sworn personnel to respond to fender benders.

House Bill 303 has passed the state House and, if it passes the state Senate, it will become law.  Local bills don’t require the signature of the governor.

The bill would allow Greensboro to hire non-sworn personnel to handle traffic accidents that only involve property damage.  Traffic accidents that cause injuries would continue to be handled by sworn police officers.

At the work session, James said that the police spend about 17,000 hours a year responding to traffic accidents that only involve property damage, and if response to those fender benders could be handled by non-sworn personnel that would free up a lot of hours for police officers.

James also said that two cities in North Carolina already have non-sworn personnel responding to minor traffic accidents.

House Bill 303 states, “A Civilian Traffic Investigator shall be issued a uniform that is substantially different in color and style from that of a law enforcement officer for the City of Greensboro.”  It also states that Civilian Traffic Investigators will not have badges or guns and their vehicles cannot have blue lights, but red and amber lights are permissible.

The bill also states, “A report completed by a Civilian Traffic Investigator shall be treated the same as if it were completed by a law enforcement officer.”

Vaughan said that Republican state Rep. Jon Hardister helped get the bill through the House and she was talking to Republican state Sen. Amy Galey about getting it passed by the Senate.  Republicans control both the state House and Senate.

It’s a fairly noncontroversial, nonpartisan issue, which means it shouldn’t have any trouble getting passed by the Senate.

However, the Greensboro City Council recently passed a resolution that included a paragraph telling the state legislature how it should go about redistricting, and resolutions of that nature don’t help when Greensboro is asking the legislature for a favor.