Local News

Group wants Durham police funding to be diverted to education, jobs

Posted April 10

— A group of Durham citizens is asking the city council to reject any request from the Durham Police Department for more funding. Instead, the group wants the money to go toward education or better paying jobs.

"The money that we spend on policing, arresting and imprisoning low income black or brown people, we should be using to fund people's needs like education, jobs, job training, mental health services, childcare, all of these things that would actually do a lot more to reduce what we punish as crime," said Mina Ezikpe, a part of the group Durham Beyond Policing.

The group says the citizens most affected by the policing should be able to decide where the money goes.

"In order for the police department to even act, or even be an ethical institution, there has to be accountability," said Ezikpe. "And that accountability, we believe, should be tied to their funding, so new money for police this year is a way of saying, 'We see you. We're watching you, and we are holding you accountable.'"

Councilmembers Jillian Johnson and Charlie Reece agree, and say policing is not the way to end violence.

In a statement, Reece said "I remain focused on finding new ways to promote economic opportunity for all residents of Durham. Because that's how we're going to reduce crime in this city."

The Durham City Council has already approved many items in this year's budget, but those decisions aren't final yet. Both Johnson and Reece said they do not expect to support any additional money for Durham Police.

City council already approved pay raises to go into effect next fiscal year for Durham Police Officers. The City Manager says he'll present his budget May 15, and the council will vote on it in June.

Durham Police declined to comment for this story.

12 Comments

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  • JJ James Apr 12, 11:01 a.m.
    user avatar

    Do your homework first! The services are already there! The Effort isn't!!!

    Education and Employment
    - Center for Employment Training
    - Durham County Literacy Council
    - Durham Tech Community College
    - Employment Security Commission
    - Jobs For Life Program
    o First Baptist Church of Durham o The Church of the Good Shepherd - INSTEPP, Inc. - JRuth, Inc. - North Carolina Central University - Vocational Rehabilitation Housing - ACRA, INC. - AIDS Community Residence Association, Inc. - ARISE Durham Crisis Response Center - CAARE - Durham Housing Authority - Durham Interfaith Hospitality Network - Durham Rescue Mission - Econo Plaza - Federally Subsidized Housing Crestview Apartments - Federally Subsidized Housing Lynnhaven Apartments - Federally Subsidized Housing Morehead Hills Apartments - Federally Subsidized Housing Rochelle Manor Apartments - Fitts-Powell Apartments - Freedom House: Durham Men’s - Freedom House: Francis Street - Freedom House: Transitional Living - Genesis Home

  • TJ Wahoo Apr 11, 12:02 p.m.
    user avatar

    Paula Carter should run for office against the council members supporting this utter nonsense. How about a group effort to allow only those who pay taxes the right to vote? Paula's got my vote.

  • Megan Goodson Apr 11, 8:32 a.m.
    user avatar

    "The money that we spend on policing, arresting and imprisoning low income black or brown people, we should be using to fund people's needs like education, jobs, job training, mental health services, childcare, all of these things that would actually do a lot more to reduce what we punish as crime," said Mina Ezikpe, a part of the group Durham Beyond Policing."

    Why don't you work within your community to educate them and help them not to be arrested and imprisoned? The only reason the police in any city needs so much "funding" is to handle citizens who act out and can't function in the real world.

    And I agree with another comment, what about the other low income races around you? But then I guess they aren't imprisoned all the time either ...

  • Tim Hathaway Apr 11, 8:08 a.m.
    user avatar

    Full disclosure: I'm a police officer. Therefore, I realize my opinion on this "news story" (quotations intentional) probably cannot be considered unbiased. That said, I have seen MANY goofy stories on WRAL but this one is near the top of the "goofy pile". I actually created an account just so I could post my reaction to the naivety and utter cluelessness on display by this young lady and, I would assume, a significant number of other individuals in Durham. This "request" is tantamount to not providing firefighters hoses and water and giving every citizen a bucket and directions to the nearest well. Better yet, let's defund EMS and purchase each citizen in Durham a first aid kit and wishing them "good luck". This "group" is embarrassing and WRAL should feel embarrassed for providing them a bullhorn.

  • Paula Carter Apr 11, 12:10 a.m.
    user avatar

    Pay taxes first then you might have some say

  • Paula Carter Apr 11, 12:06 a.m.
    user avatar

    The federal govt has already done that. If the group paid taxes they could have a say. The jobs are out there you just need show iniatitvie and try. As a brown person who pays taxes I feel Durham already gives too much. Pay your own child care not spend your money in the hair salon getting twists. 99.9% percent of crime is committed in the low income areas
    The city gives housing, food stamps, daycare, Medicaid, etc. Life is not free. You have not cuz you won't plan your life. Working people have to worry about paying their bills and keeping a roof over their heads why can't you.
    Get off playing the race card it's so old. I am outraged. What do I get?

  • Steve Morgan Apr 10, 11:06 p.m.
    user avatar

    View quoted thread


    I 2nd this

  • Mike Pittman Apr 10, 10:38 p.m.
    user avatar

    I'm not even going to comment on the absurdity of this request. I just want to point out how racist she is for only wanting the money to go to low income "black or brown" people. What about the low income rest of the population?

  • Haley Sessoms Apr 10, 9:23 p.m.
    user avatar

    Maybe we can use some of that funding for a nose ring in that other big nostril of yours

  • Haley Sessoms Apr 10, 9:20 p.m.
    user avatar

    Been a while since I actually laughed out loud at an article. When I saw they are asking that the citizens that are affected by the policing should decide where the funds go is hands down funniest thing I've seen all day. Something will top it tomorrow I'm sure because it's 2017

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