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A Resolution on Advancing Next Steps in Racial Equity in Law Enforcement and Public Safety in Carrboro

WHEREAS, Black Lives Matter; and 

WHEREAS, on June 9, 2020, the Town Council requested that Council Members Haven-O’Donnell, Seils, and Slade draft a resolution addressing next steps in advancing racial equity in law enforcement and public safety; and 

WHEREAS, appreciating the diligence of the manager and the department heads in preparing a budget that aims to avoid increases in expenditures in anticipation of an economic downturn, the Town Council also asked that the manager provide more information about the recommended budget for fiscal year 2021, including details about the proposed 6.6 percent increase in the Police Department budget and options for lessening proposed increases; and 

WHEREAS, in May 2015, the Orange County Bias Free Policing Coalition (“Coalition”) submitted a report, “Policing Reform Recommendations,” to the Carrboro Town Council, the Chapel Hill Town Council, and the Orange County Board of Commissioners; and 

WHEREAS, the Police Department, under the leadership of Chief Walter Horton, provides a high level of service to and receives high marks from Carrboro residents, and has taken important steps toward achieving the Coalition’s goals for bias-free policing, including confirming the existence of or newly adopting the following policies and practices: written policies explicitly prohibiting racial profiling; periodic reviews of data on law enforcement officers’ motor vehicle stops, searches, and arrests; requirement to obtain written consent for consensual searches; use of dashboard-mounted and body-worn cameras; designation of marijuana-related enforcement as a low priority; deemphasis of regulatory and equipment-related motor vehicle stops; reports of enforcement data disaggregated by race and ethnicity; and racial equity training for officers; and 

WHEREAS, in October 2015, the Campaign for Racial Equity in Our Schools submitted a report, “Excellence With Equity: The Schools Our Children Deserve,” to the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Board of Education; and 

WHEREAS, in October 2018, the Town Council authorized the Town to become a “core member” of the Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE), a commitment to advance racial equity across all functions and levels of municipal government; and 

WHEREAS, on June 9, 2020, Governor Roy Cooper issued Executive Order No. 145, establishing the North Carolina Task Force for Racial Equity in Criminal Justice, which will “develop and help implement solutions that will eliminate disparate outcomes in the criminal justice system for communities of color”; and 

WHEREAS, “Carrboro citizens are vocal in their concern for each other”; and “the town should continue to look for unmet needs,” “continue to support human service needs that are above and beyond those met by the County,” “consider the impact of its ordinances and policies on the well-being of its most vulnerable citizens,” “continue to provide a high level of police, public works and fire service,” and “continue its efforts towards community building by encouraging the use of facilitation and conflict resolution” (Carrboro Vision 2020); 



  1. The Town Council hereby establishes the following policy goals relating to racial equity and public safety: 
  • zero racial and ethnic disparities in motor vehicle stops; 
  • zero racial and ethnic disparities in searches resulting from motor vehicle stops; 
  • zero racial and ethnic disparities in citations and arrests resulting from motor vehicle stops; 
  • zero racial and ethnic disparities in uses of force; and 
  • zero arrests for low-level marijuana-related offenses.
  1. Consistent with recommendations and responses from the Coalition, the Town Council asks the manager to resume in summer 2020 providing quarterly “race and policing reports,” including but not limited to overall stop rates, demographic information, residency tracking, reasons for stops, equipment and regulatory violations, number of searches, types of searches (e.g., consensual, probable cause), number of requests denied for written consent for searches, citations, arrests, uses of force, and complaints, to the extent publicly disclosable by law.
  1. The Town Council asks the manager to provide a report describing calls for service from the Police Department and the Fire-Rescue Department.
  1. In the interest of promoting transparency, the Town Council asks the manager to make available on the Town’s website the reports listed above, the Coalition’s responses to those reports, and the Town’s responses to the Coalition.
  1. The Town Council asks the manager to share the policy goals and reports listed above, and information about the work of the Town’s GARE team, with the Town’s Comprehensive Plan Task Force, which is currently being formed.


  1. The Town Council recognizes that the number of use-of-force incidents in the Police Department is low and that officers’ decisions about use of force must be guided by concern for the safety of themselves and others and must be tactically and legally sound.
  1. The Town Council is grateful to the police chief for responding to residents’ and council members’ inquiries about use-of-force policies by confirming that the following departmental policies are in effect: 
  • require officers to de-escalate situations when possible; 
  • require officers to intervene and stop excessive force used by other officers and report these incidents to a supervisor; 
  • establish a force continuum that restricts the most severe types of force to the most extreme situations; and 
  • require officers to report each time they use force or threaten to use force.
  1. The Town Council hereby establishes that it is Town policy that the use of chokeholds and strangleholds—broadly defined to include all maneuvers that involve choking, holding the neck, or cutting off blood flow in the neck—is prohibited as a policing tactic.
  1. The Town Council hereby establishes that it is Town policy that officers must provide a verbal warning, when practicable, before using deadly force. The Town Council affirms that officers’ decisions must remain safe and tactically sound.
  1. The Town Council hereby establishes that it is Town policy that the use of deadly force against individuals (including individuals in moving vehicles or on foot) is limited to situations where it is necessary for self-defense or defense of others against an imminent deadly threat or threat of serious bodily injury. Chapter 5 of the Police Department’s Policy and Procedure Manual (revised February 1, 2020) is consistent with this policy.
  1. The Town Council hereby establishes that it is Town policy that the use of specialized impact munitions (as defined in Chapter 5, Section II.H) or chemical agents on crowds or persons exercising their First Amendment rights is prohibited.
  2. The Town Council hereby establishes that it is Town policy that the hiring of anyone who has previously been either (1) disciplined in a law enforcement role for use of excessive force or (2) accused multiple times of use of excessive force through citizen complaints or personnel reports, regardless of whether the department disciplined the individual, is prohibited.


The Town Council asks the manager to request information from the superintendent of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools about the status of the following recommendations from the “Excellence With Equity” report submitted to the Board of Education in October 2015: 

  • “Complete the revisions discussed by the School Board and adopt immediately the Memorandum of Understanding between the District and local police departments regarding the role of School Resource Officers (SROs) that has been under development and consideration for the last 18 months” (page 73).
  • “Develop a plan to replace SROs with school-based programs that have been shown to increase safety and security” (page 73).


  1. The Town Council asks the manager to postpone filling the currently vacant position(s) in the Police Department, pending further discussion about budgetary and public safety needs.
  1. The Town Council asks the manager to allocate $7500 in fiscal year 2020-2021 for a contribution to the Town of Chapel Hill’s Criminal Justice Debt Program to expand program eligibility to Carrboro residents.


  1. The Town Council intends to establish a task force on public safety, in the interest of developing new approaches to public safety beyond policing and of investing in what scholar and community organizer Patrisse Cullors has called an “economy of care.”
  1. The task force will consider a range of issues related to public safety, including but not limited to law enforcement practices; the possibility of police social worker positions; alternatives to assigning responsibilities for human service needs to the Town’s public safety departments; and coordination with the County and other jurisdictional partners to increase investments in programs and services that keep communities healthy and safe through budget reallocations and additional funding.
  1. The Town Council recognizes that investments in public safety and in programs and services that keep communities healthy and safe must advance racial equity, be grounded in community demands, and be informed by authentic engagement with grassroots and community organizations.
  1. The Town Council asks the manager to schedule a work session, after the summer recess, to enable the Town Council to develop a charge for the task force, consider a timeline for its work, and identify resources to enable it to be successful.

This the 18th day of June, 2020.

Office Hours 2020

Monthly office hours for the first half of 2020 are here! Join me (and sometimes a special guest) to chat about local issues, ongoing projects, and important new initiatives coming to Carrboro this year. We can also talk politics as we face down this important election year for the region, the state, and the country.

  • Sunday, January 12, 2:00-4:00 pm – Gray Squirrel Coffee Company
  • Sunday, February 9, 12:00-3:00 pm – Craftboro Brewing Depot – Special guest: Orange County Commissioner Mark Dorosin
  • Sunday, March 22, 3:00-4:00 pm – Online Office Hours (Zoom)
  • Sunday, March 29, 2:30-4:00 pm – Online Office Hours (Zoom)
  • Sunday, April 5, 2:00-3:30 pm – Online Office Hours (Zoom)

These dates and times may change. Check this page for updates, or follow along on Twitter or Facebook. And feel free to contact me anytime. Happy new year!

Updated May 6, 2020.

Thank You, and a Look Ahead

On November 5, Carrboro voters offered me the privilege of serving a second term on the Board of Aldermen. I am beyond grateful. Thank you.

There is important work ahead for Carrboro in the next few years. I’m looking forward to engaging in this work with all of you and with my colleagues, including Alderperson-elect Susan Romaine, who will join the board on December 3.

Meanwhile, Tuesday’s election didn’t slow things down. Just this week, Mayor Lavelle and I attended a meeting of the Orange County Board of Commissioners to discuss Carrboro’s perspective on the proposed widening of NC 54 west of town. I also gave a presentation to the Chamber’s Government Affairs Committee on upcoming transportation projects in Carrboro and Chapel Hill. Today, I attended the Orange County Democratic Party’s annual legislative lunch to rally around a push for statewide change in the critical 2020 election.

There is no shortage of ways to get involved in the issues you care about, both here in Carrboro and around the state. Let’s talk. I continue to hold monthly community office hours to discuss your thoughts about local issues. Drop by my next office hours on Sunday, November 17, between 2:00 and 4:00 pm 12:30 and 2:30 pm at Johnny’s on West Main Street.

For occasional updates (no more than monthly) about Carrboro issues, subscribe to my email list. You can also find me on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

The Most Important Endorsement

I’m grateful that my re-election campaign has earned the endorsements of so many organizations and community leaders representing a diversity of experiences, interests, and expertise in Carrboro. The most important endorsement is yours. In asking for your vote, I remain committed to engaging the entire community in our important work to meet today’s needs and to plan for our future.

Many thanks to:

Three Days to Go

Two highlights from the campaign trail today:

• A young Irish setter–golden retriever mix kissed me on the mouth in the Highlands.

• I reintroduced myself to someone whose door I first knocked in 2013. Back then, impressed I was knocking on doors when I was the only candidate on the ballot, he promised me his vote. He remembered me today, too. I think about him a lot.

My team of friends and volunteers reached peak campaign today. We knocked on another 450 doors all over Carrboro. In the past several weeks, we knocked on 2500 doors and mailed more than 9000 postcards. I participated in 17 candidate forums, interviews, and campaign meet and greets, completed 11 candidate questionnaires, and received every available organizational endorsement and the support of a dozen former Carrboro mayors and alderpersons. I love my team, and I love this town!

Election Day is Tuesday. Please vote! And please stop by Steel String after the polls close to mark the end of the local election season and to get ready for county, state, and federal elections in 2020.

Endorsement From the Battle-Anderson-Thorpe-Chapman Breakfast Club

Many thanks to the Battle-Anderson-Thorpe-Chapman Breakfast Club for their endorsement of my re-election campaign. The Breakfast Club offers endorsements in local elections to support candidates who will consistently advocate for social justice.

Hank Anderson, who served as a Carrboro alderman from 1993 to 1998, founded the Breakfast Club in 1976 as a regular breakfast meeting at Mama Dip’s Kitchen for local African American and social justice community leaders. Anderson was the first African American department head for the Town of Chapel Hill, leading the town’s parks and recreation department for nearly 30 years.

I am honored to have the endorsement of this group of community leaders who work to carry on the legacy of local icons Fred Battle, Hank Anderson, Bill Thorpe, and Yonni Chapman.

Endorsements From Carrboro Leaders

Early voting: October 16-November 1
Election Day: November 5

I am honored to have the endorsements of so many of my predecessors on the Board of Aldermen. They include both mayors and alderpersons, several of whom have gone on to serve at the school district, county, and state levels, totaling more than 130 years of public service to the people of Carrboro.

Ellie Kinnaird
Mayor, 1987-1995
North Carolina state senator, 1997-2013

Mike Nelson
Mayor, 1995-2005; alderman, 1993-1995
Orange County commissioner, 2006-2010

Mark Chilton
Mayor, 2005-2013; alderman, 2003-2005
Orange County register of deeds, 2014-present

Mark Dorosin
Alderman, 1999-2003
Orange County commissioner, 2012-present

Joal Hall Broun
Alderwoman, 1999-2011
Chapel Hill-Carrboro school board member, 2015-present

Jim Porto
Mayor, 1983-1987

Braxton Foushee
Alderman, 1969-1981

Diana McDuffee
Alderwoman, 1995-2005

Frances Shetley
Alderwoman, 1987-1995, 1997

Michelle Johnson
Alderwoman, 2011-2017

Dan Coleman
Alderman, 2006-2013

Allen Spalt
Alderman, 1997-2001

Early Voting in Carrboro

Early voting in Carrboro and Chapel Hill begins on Saturday, October 19, and continues for 2 weeks. Cast your vote early at Carrboro Town Hall, the Seymour Center, or Chapel of the Cross.

  • Saturday, Oct. 19: 9:00 am-1:00 pm
  • Monday, Oct. 21: 9:00 am-6:00 pm
  • Tuesday, Oct. 22: 9:00 am-6:00 pm
  • Wednesday, Oct. 23: 9:00 am-6:00 pm
  • Thursday, Oct. 24: 9:00 am-6:00 pm
  • Friday, Oct. 25: 9:00 am-6:00 pm
  • Sunday, Oct. 27: 12:00-4:00 pm
  • Monday, Oct. 28: 9:00 am-6:00 pm
  • Tuesday, Oct. 29: 9:00 am-6:00 pm
  • Wednesday, Oct. 30: 9:00 am-6:00 pm
  • Thursday, Oct. 31: 9:00 am-5:00 pm
  • Friday, Nov. 1: 9:00 am-6:00 pm