GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — The City of Greensboro is looking for ways to free up sworn-in officer’s time so they could handle more life-or-death situations in the city.
The city is looking into getting House Bill 303 passed in the state Senate and becoming law. The bill would allow the city to hire a citizen to be non-sworn-in officers dealing with minor traffic accidents.
Civilian traffic investigators would also have the same authority as a law enforcement officer to tow or remove a vehicle that is obstructing a public street or highway.
The civilian traffic investigator would investigate crashes involving only property damage. Any crash involving personal injury or fatalities would still be investigated by a law enforcement officer.
According to the Greensboro Police Department, they get 10,000 calls a year for car accidents. Civilian traffic investigators would attend to 20-50 percent of the calls, freeing up more time for police to handle more crime in the city.
Civilian traffic investigators would have no arresting authority or be issued any weapons.
The bill has already been passed in the state House. Greensboro Mayor Nancy Vaughan said if it passes in the state Senate and is signed by the governor, it will free up more sworn-in officers’ time.
“By allowing these civilians to respond to these traffic accidents, it would free up about 17,000 man-hours,” Vaughan said.
House Bill 303 states that each civilian traffic investigator would need to attend a training program designed by the Greensboro Police Department and spend four weeks in field training with a law enforcement officer with experience conducting traffic crash investigations.
“We know people tend to have to wait a really long time to get police response, so this will help with our customer service as well,” Vaughan said.