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Greensboro Police Department Works To Strengthen Community Ties

Greensboro Police Department
Greensboro Police Department

After a national search, Greensboro hired a new police chief from within the department's ranks. Chief Brian James, who formally began his new role on Feb. 1, is hosting a series of community meetings to start his tenure.

Eight meetings will be held from February through March with the goal of making communities safer and introducing the police chief to local residents. Community members are encouraged to ask questions about crime, service delivery and any other concerns they have regarding their community, the city or the police department.

While James had support from the majority of the crowd, some residents questioned the department’s handling of a man who died in police custody less than two years ago. 

Since the death of Marcus Smith in Sept. 2018, the relationship between the police department and some members of the community has been strained.

Smith's family, residents of Greensboro, have since demanded justice for Marcus Smith through protests and repeated visits to city council meetings where they voiced their anger at the police department and called for the firing of former Chief Wayne Scott.

Residents at the meeting asked what James will do about the situation but he remained tight-lipped.

"Of course I'm limited to what I can say about certain instances but I certainly want to learn from anything that's happened in the past and try to use those lessons and do better going forward," James said. 

A number of residents were unsatisfied with the chief’s response to the Smith situation and left before the end of the meeting.


Naomi P. Brown joined WUNC in January 2017.
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