The regular Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) the Greensboro Police Department receives from the US Department of Justice has made it back to the City Council consent agenda.
The agenda for the Tuesday, Nov. 1 City Council meeting has no public hearings and 14 items on the consent agenda.
The consent agenda is a grouping of routine and noncontroversial items that are not discussed and are all passed with one vote. Four of the 14 items on consent agenda for the Nov. 1 meeting are to approve the minutes of previous meetings.
But included on the consent agenda are two items about the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant that in 2020 became extremely controversial and was far from routine.
In January 2020, a member of the Working class & Homeless Organizing Alliance (WHOA) spoke against accepting the grant because he said that accepting the grant would require the city to share information about the citizenship and immigration status of people who are arrested with federal agencies such as Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
At the time, Assistant City Manager Trey Davis explained that the Greensboro Police Department didn’t collect information on the immigration status of people, so it had no information to share with ICE, but the majority of the City Council decided to believe the representative of WHOA and not Davis.
The result was that the City Council voted to turn down the $250,000 grant, which included money for the Guilford County Sheriff’s Office and the High Point Police Department (HPPD) as well as $138,000 for the GPD.
And the end result of the City Council vote to turn down the grant was that both the Guilford County Sheriff’s Department and the HPPD got a share of the money originally allocated for the GPD and the GPD got zip.
However, since January 2020, the City Council has done an about face on the JAG from the Justice Department and unless some councilmember removes the two items from the consent agenda, the acceptance of the $298,000 grant with $168,000 going to the GPD will be approved without discussion.