Triad law enforcement agencies make changes to improve community relationships

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GREENSBORO, N.C. — In the 11 months following the murder of George Floyd, several Triad law enforcement agencies say they’ve made changes to policies and procedures to improve community relationships. 

Greensboro Police Chief Brian James announced in June 2020 that officers are required to intervene in cases of excessive force. On Wednesday, he said no officers have had to step in during any use of force since the policy was created. 

Chief James said departments across the country are working to restore trust among law enforcement. 

“The damage that was done, we can recover from it, but it will take a long time,” Chief James said.  

He explained several other changes are in the works, including additional de-escalation training geared to situations where people might be experiencing mental health crises.  

“One thing we implemented recently, it’s called ICAT Training, Integrating Communication Assessment and Tactics, and that is a hands on training of how to respond to individuals who may be suffering from a crisis,” Chief James said. 

The department is also adding mental health resources for officers who are expected to undergo evaluations every 5 years. 

Previously, there was no regular check in on officers. 

“So for instance you may go your whole career and only be assessed that one time prior to employment and never be assessed again, so we feel like it’s equally important to have mentally healthy officers respond to calls because over time, those calls can take a toll and they can certainly influence how you react to a situation,” Chief James explained. 

High Point police, Burlington police, and Guilford and Rockingham County Sheriff’s Offices also made changes to policies concerning intervention for excessive force. They also banned chokeholds. 

“You would think this would be common sense, and that’s what I expect of our officers to act on every single day every single call, but we did put in the duty to intervene. We wrote that down to say if you see something that is not right, we expect you to step in,” Chief Travis Stroud said. 

Greensboro police plan to make diversity and equity training mandatory for all sworn and non-sworn officers this year. 

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