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.