As the challenging year of 2020 comes to close, the N.C. League of Municipalities and its Board of Directors made the decision that its voice needed to be loud and clear on the critical issues of racial equity.
The NCLM board, in November, announced the establishment of its Task Force on the Impact of City Leaders on Racial Equity. The 14-member task force is being led by NCLM President Jennifer Robinson, a member of the Cary Town Council, and NCLM Board of Directors Member Bill Harris, a member of the Fuquay-Varina Town Commissioners. Including the two co-chairs, eight members come from the Board of Directors, while six others are city officials who are not current members of the board.
The goal of the task force is to examine ways in which cities and towns can effectively address social justice and racial equity issues, focusing on their own authority and practices.
“For this organization, I believe it is crucial that we focus on those things that are within our power, as municipalities, and what we can do collectively and individually to ensure that all of our citizens are treated fairly and with respect,” Robinson said.
NCLM has engaged the National League of Cities to help initiate the task force discussions, which will include an examination of historical practices that have created racial inequities. NLC staff member who have led its Race, Equity, and Leadership (REAL) initiative will provide the assistance.
Vickie Miller, NCLM Director of Learning and Development, is serving as the lead staff member from the League.
This effort follows a series of deaths of unarmed black civilians by police across the country, followed by protests this summer in cities and towns throughout the United States, including North Carolina. In this state, the protests occurred in both large cities and small towns, demonstrating the extent of the calls for change.
For several years, NCLM’s Risk Management Services has offered a review of individual police department policies, the Law Enforcement Risk Review Process. The process is designed to assess an agency’s adherence to best practices, court decisions, and policies and procedures related to high liability activities in law enforcement. The goal is to enhance public safety and validate that critical areas of each department are meeting industry standards. RMS also has offered trainings designed to ensure that individual rights are understood and observed during police encounters.
The task force will look at best practices and potential services that can go beyond those services and that are not focused solely on policing.