One takeaway from the Greensboro City Council work session on Tuesday, March 23, is that the eight women on the City Council really don’t like lone male City Councilmember Justin Outling’s attempting to take action.
At the work session, Outling made what was a reasonable request. He asked City Manager David Parrish to let him know, by Friday, how many additional police officers the Greensboro Police Department needed.
Police Chief Brian James had previously said that the staffing study, which was supposed to be started in March 2020, was finally complete and needed approval from Parrish to be brought to the City Council.
The staffing study presumably has far more information than the number of officers that the Police Department should have in 2021, and Outling was asking only for the number of additional officers the Police Department needed.
The request also wasn’t out of the blue. Outling had asked James if having more authorized officers would provide him with more money to pay officers overtime to backfill the open positions in the department until more officers could be hired and trained.
James agreed that with more authorized positions he would have a larger budget for overtime.
Outling has said that he wanted to take action to assist the Police Department with the rapid increase in homicides.
Following the City Council work session with James on Dec. 7, 2020, the City Council talked about taking immediate action to assist the Police Department, but since then the City Council has taken no action.
But after Outling made his request, Councilmember Sharon Hightower questioned why Outling would need information before the staffing study was released and said, “Throwing money at it is not simply going to be the only answer.”
Councilmember Goldie Wells said, “I don’t think the manager can rush the chief when the chief says he needs more time.”
Wells said, “If we had the answers to stopping homicides, we would do it.”
Wells added, “There is no need to build up false hope.”
Councilmember Michelle Kennedy said, “I feel the way that other people do. Saying that we want a report on Friday is the opposite of what we are trying to do.”
Councilmember Yvonne Johnson talked about the need for safe and affordable housing.
Mayor Nancy Vaughan said they would approve any overtime the police chief requested.