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Durham City Manager Releases Recommendations For Police Dept.

A portrait og Tom Bonfield
City of Durham

Durham City Manager Tom Bonfield is recommending that the Police Department require officers to complete racial equality training.

It's just one of dozens of points from a 131-page report his office compiled in response to complaints of racial bias and profiling within the department.

City Manager Tom Bonfield wrote that he reviewed the recommendations with the police department and six community advocacy groups.

Bonfield agreed that police vehicles should carry written search consent forms in English and Spanish. He said they should be used for all home searches without warrants. He wrote that cameras and microphones should be working during searches at traffic stops, whether or not a form is signed there. 

Bonfield wrote that the department should make marijuana arrests a low priority and annually review misdemeanor marijuana arrests for racial bias.

He did not support the recommendation that all officers receive psychiatric evaluations every three years.

Bonfield declined to comment on the report until he formally presents it to the City Council on Thursday. But Councilman Steve Schewel said Bonfield's office is doing important work.

“We cannot have any racial discrimination, and we want to make sure that we don't,” said Schewel. “And that means dealing with some systemic issues and having some really good systems and procedures in place that will help our officers who are good police officers do their job well.”

The report is being released just a month after an assistant police chief – who is black – sued Durham claiming he was passed over for a promotion.

Rebecca Martinez produces podcasts at WUNC. She’s been at the station since 2013, when she produced Morning Edition and reported for newscasts and radio features. Rebecca also serves on WUNC’s Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accountability (IDEA) Committee.
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