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Durham to governor: More funding needed to fight crime

The governor's office says he's requested more than $11 million to go to technology and that the city's concerns should go to the courts.

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DURHAM, N.C. — Durham leaders have sent a letter to Gov. Mike Easley telling him he is not investing enough funding in crime control.

On behalf of the Durham Crime Cabinet, City Councilman Eugene Brown and Durham County Commissioner Ellen Reckhow signed off on the letter, which says the city is in dire need for technology and data sharing so law enforcement agencies across the state can know the same information.

"Our state is putting its citizens in harm's way," Brown said.

Unless there's more funding, leaders say the state can expect more violent crimes, such as the March 5 death of University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill senior Eve Carson.

The two men charged in Carson's death have long criminal histories and, according to some, are prime examples of what's wrong with the state's criminal justice system.

"These two gentleman didn't fall through the cracks, they fell through the Grand Canyon because no one knew where they were," Brown said.

But Brown said it's not only a local problem but a statewide issue. He said North Carolina ranks third from the bottom in funding for state criminal justice systems.

"It has to be properly funded. No more empty promises. It's needed now. It was needed five years ago," Brown said. "When you look at what other states are doing with their technology, I mean, we're embarrassingly far behind."

Renee Hoffman, a spokeswoman for the governor, said Easley requested more than $11 million in the past few years for such technology issues.

Concerns, such as those in the letter, should be addressed to the Administrative Office of the Courts, Hoffman said.

"The governor, as head of the Executive Branch, has no role in determining funding or management priorities of matters within the Judicial Branch," she said.

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Bruce Mildwurf, Reporter
Terry Cantrell, Photographer
Kelly Gardner, Web Editor

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