The Greensboro City Council has scheduled another work session on the Greensboro Police Department for Tuesday, April 6 at 3:30 p.m.

This is big news. 

In 2020, a year that set a new record for homicides in Greensboro at 61, the Greensboro City Council held two work sessions on the Police Department the entire year, and one of the two was on Dec. 7, 2020, after the city had already had 57 homicides.  The previous record set in 2019 was 45 homicides, which means in 2020 homicides increased by 35 percent.

City Councilmember Justin Outling has been requesting monthly work sessions on the Police Department, and at least in March and April his request is being fulfilled.

It is presumed that the work session will cover the Police Department staffing study that was requested in March 2020.  At the Dec. 7, 2020 work session, City Manager David Parrish explained to the City Council that the police staffing study got pushed to the side with all of the COVID-19 related restrictions and adjustments that had to be made by city staff.

However, at the March 23 City Council work session on the Police Department, both Police Chief Brian James and Parrish said that the staffing study was nearly complete.  Parrish said that he had a couple of questions that he wanted to get answered, but in reply to a question from Outling, Parrish said that he expected to have those answers by Friday, March 26.

The staffing study according to a memo from the Budget and Evaluation Department recommends that the number of sworn police officers be increased by 16 officers from 683 to 699.

Outling said, “I’m going to encourage the council to take action on the April 6.”

The City Council doesn’t normally take action at work sessions, but on April 6 there is a regular City Council meeting following the work session at 5:30 p.m.  There is nothing on the agenda for that meeting about the Police Department.  However, councilmembers are free to make motions on items not on the agenda.

Increasing the number of authorized positions in the Police Department could have an immediate effect on the number of officers on the street because it will provide a larger budget to pay officers to work overtime.

It will not have an immediate effect on the total number of sworn officers because the training for police officers takes about 10 months and the recent Police Academy classes have not had enough recruits to keep pace with the normal attrition rate for the department.