Nothing for the Greensboro Police Department (GPD) was on the agenda for the Tuesday, Dec. 15 Greensboro City Council meeting.
This is despite the fact that, at the Dec. 7 work session on violent crime, councilmembers had made the point that they wanted to take immediate action to help the GPD quell the tremendous increase in violent crime and homicides that the city is experiencing in 2020.
This is also despite the fact that, since that meeting, the city passed the grim milestone of the 60th homicide of the year – an increase from 45 homicides in 2019, which was itself a record number.
The City Council often uses the excuse of a policy not to take action at work sessions. And that was the excuse for not providing the assistance that Police Chief Brian James requested at the work session.
However, Greensboro Police Chief Brian James did get an opportunity to speak at the Tuesday, Dec. 15 meeting. After the agenda was completed and councilmembers were making comments, Councilmember Sharon Hightower asked if the City Council could get an update from James, since Greensboro had hit 60 homicides.
James noted that the Police Department, which has 612 of the authorized 674 officers fully trained and working, had started using overtime to fill in the gaps created by the shortage of officers. James did not need City Council permission to do this and he noted at the work session that it would have no budget impact since they would use the money allocated for police salaries for the unfilled positions.
James also said that he would be submitting a supplemental budget on Friday that would cover the additional detective and crime analyst he planned to hire. He said, “One homicide case involves a tremendous amount of work.”
He added that he had hired back some recently retired officers to do legwork involved in investigating homicides.
City Manager David Parrish said that the staffing issues could be addressed without City Council action.
Mayor Nancy Vaughan suggested that James hold “an informational” session every week or every other week to keep the public informed.
Other than that advice no immediate help was given to the GPD.