GREENSBORO, NC (May 29, 2020) – We as a country witnessed a horrific incident this week, which will change us forever and caused many to question law enforcement nationwide. The actions of the officers involved in this incident were excessive and are counter to everything taught in law enforcement training. This incident has damaged the trust of the communities we serve and will take time to rebuild. As the Greensboro Chief of Police, I take the safety of our residents’ to heart. Since becoming Chief, I changed our mission statement to “Partnering to make Greensboro safe for all people.” I take that statement seriously and intend for it to be reflected in everything we do.
The department sees the value and importance of training our officers to deal with the ever changing landscape of our community. We conduct psychological testing and thorough background checks on all candidates and select those who we feel will uphold the integrity that our profession requires. The entire policing community’s reputation can be tarnished with one bad decision or intentional action. While we are human and make mistakes, we cannot allow those to remain in our profession who do not treat all persons with dignity and respect.
The Greensboro Police Department has an Early Intervention System, which sets thresholds around all administrative investigations, prompting an internal review ensuring all laws and internal policies have been followed.
Training is also key for developing the officers who will serve our community with professionalism and compassion. Our training academy teaches de-escalation techniques, understanding implicit bias, procedural justice, ethics and communication skills. Officers are trained on interactions and recognizing individuals with mental Illness and developmental disabilities.
We are in a challenging time. Communities need great law enforcement officers who serve with professionalism and compassion, willing to treat all persons with dignity and respect. I hope this will be a moment to embrace honest conversations about how we can build, repair and maintain positive relationships with the community. The Greensboro Police Department will do its best each day to ensure we have the right people doing the right things in our communities. As a nation, my hope is that we can build from this tragic moment and not let it define us.
Brian L. James, Chief of Police