Councilmember Hugh Holston made a motion that the city staff develop a plan that would result in the Police Department being fully staffed in 18 to 24 months at the Monday, Nov. 1 City Council meeting.
Holston was appointed to the City Council in September to replace Michelle Kennedy, who resigned her at-large seat on the City Council to accept the position of director of the Greensboro Neighborhood Development Department.
Holston evidently hasn’t gotten the memo yet that the council’s method of dealing with issues is to appoint committees, task forces and commissions and hire consultants to study the matter.
At the council meeting, Greensboro Police Chief Brian James gave a report about the three homicides in Greensboro last weekend and four homicides in the past week. James noted that Greensboro has had 45 homicides in 2021, which is only one less than this same period in 2020, when the city set a record for homicides with 63. James also talked about some of the issues the Greensboro Police Department (GPD) was having to deal with because of the shortage of officers.
James noted that because of the increase in violent crime and the fact that the GPD had so many vacancies, detectives and other police officers who normally don’t answer calls were responding to calls to fill the gaps.
The October crime report showed 108 vacancies in the Police Department.
Most of the discussion by the City Council was fairly typical.
Councilmember Yvonne Johnson talked about more lights and cameras.
Councilmember Justin Outling talked about more crime analysis.
Councilmember Goldie Wells talked about the need to do something and being “intentional” in what they did.
However, Holston said, “I make a motion that we direct our city manager develop a plan for the Greensboro Police Department to staff them fully in 18 to 24 months.”
Holston added, “It’s time to stop talking and put our money where our mouth is.”
Mayor Nancy Vaughan suggested that instead the City Council ask for an update on the Police Department’s strategic plan.
Holston stuck to his motion to have city staff develop a plan that would bring the Police Department to full force in 18 to 24 months.
Councilmember Tammi Thurm said she couldn’t support a “blanket to do whatever it takes.”
Thurm then made a motion – which was out of order because of Holston’s motion on the floor – for the council to be presented with a plan by the second meeting in December for the Police Department to get to the full staffing level.
Thurm’s motion basically restated the motion that Holston had made with a deadline and Holston agreed to accept it as a friendly amendment.
Councilmember Nancy Hoffmann asked James to be as creative as possible in coming up with the plan to get to the Police Department to full force.
Holston’s motion passed unanimously, which means that in December the City Council will have to decide whether to take the necessary action to bring the Police Department to full force, or just keep talking about doing something.
I appreciate Mr. Holston’s direct approach. Notice how immediately other council members tried to back his motion down. The changes that need to be made are in council’s hands (take home cars, salary equivalent or more than the surrounding agencies). Guess what the other agencies do not have to work: Homecoming.
I want to sincerely thank Mr. Hugh Holstein for his quick and decisive action!
Name a other agency within several miles that doesn’t work the A&T homecoming. You have police from as far as Thomasville there.
Be for real. Who bears the brunt of that crap show?
The City Council of Greensboro ,,,, what a waste of precious oxygen. SMH
Check back in December and see if this is a Council of Action or words.
Finally, someone with a sense of responsibility on the council. What a breath of fresh air. Thank you!
Talk, talk and more talk, just lip service while avoiding the solution. If you want to hire smart people to do an unpleasant job, a job where they may get shot, stabbed, beat up, spit on and such … then you need to need to pay them extremely well. Wonder what would happen if you started GPD Officers at say $80,000 a year instead of a piddly $41,500. Heck by the time the State and feds get through raping their paychecks these officers can barely get by and that is why many have to work extra work on the side. Just say’n.
The City can blow tons of money on painting the center of the street downtown, propping up the civil rights museum, and other stuff, all the while ignoring folks that protect the community and whose actions are always under the microscope of the public eye.
I have the plan:
Pay the men and women competitive wages.
Leave them alone so they can do their job.
Police enforcement is not political; it is about enforcement. The Council does not make the Federal & State laws.
When Tammi and Co. say that the Chief “needs to be crrative”, that is just code talk for “we aren’t giving you any money.” Just another election year scheme to get back in office.
To be fair, the Chief should have come back at them immediately with a hard list of demands: take home cars, highest pay in the region, and incentives to retain senior officers. He should have ended by saying that half the reason no one wants to work here is because of the behavior of the City Council themselves. Mic drop.
I would like to know why no one else has to “get creative,” Pay over appraisal for a dilapidated old hotel that will take $10 million to make livable. Pour money into the GPAC. No problem. Give grants to DGI and exclude other applicants. No problem. Give money to Cure Violence (that really worked Homecoming weekend) or IRC, organizations in which council members personally benefited. No problem. I could go on but you get the picture.
Solving the attrition and recruitment issues is easy. But they will not do it. Not with the delayed election coming up in six months. Oh, I forgot-vote on a redistricting map that protects one council member against the recommendation of the appointed committee. No problem. All it takes is five votes to fund the items that will make GPD and public safety viable. Let’s see who has the stones to get together and have a vote that is not 9-0 and has been decided in the hallway before the meeting. Let’s see who cares about their constituents. My guess is not one of them really wants to put their name on improving this situation. Maybe the Virginia elections will give you (council) a clue that citizens are tired of the BS.
Bingo!!! Well said.
Obviously, this City Council doesn’t have a clue as to how to handle this or any other situation for OUR city. Nothing is going to improve until a ALL NEW City Council is elected.
Thank you Mr. Holston! Finally someone with sense and a vision. Tammi I live in your district, look forward to voting you out of office. I will support your opponent. We need more police, not anti- police council! Stop wasting money on non- proven projects, ( cure for Violence) start backing our police and fire departments. Start providing them with the resources they need to protect us!
Tony I will be in touch
Sorry pal. Your website has nothing about you, your political stances, or anything relevant except for you asking for money and an ad for one of you events that happened a few months ago. If you cant manage a campaign website, how can we expect you to manage our city.
Not that I’m a fan of who we have now. But you have to put some effort in man.
Just talking is what they do.Maybe Mr. Holston can inspire action……good luck Hugh!
Its a noble thought from the newcomer.
THIS Council doesn’t have a chance of ever making this any better. Their inaction and cowering to protesters last summer proved they will choose politics over supporting their own police department. Any recent talk about helping is purely political theatrics to save their hides during the upcoming election. If they really cared, they would have shown it all along and not just now. Best of luck, I hope your new friends don’t burn your whole city down before a new Council can sort out your mess!
Mr. Holston needs to run for Mayor!! In fact, anybody but Nancy!
The city council was directly responsible for breaking the spirits of the officers several years back. There was a time when proactive policing was helping to drive down crime before they were accused of being racist. For most officers I know, they don’t work the job for the pay although more would be nice. They work the job because they feel like they are making a difference. When you take that away and then don’t pay them on top of that it’s a recipe for disaster. And disaster is exactly what you now have. Great job Greensboro.