Did Durham city council support enough of Chief Davis’ requests for more police resources?

Durham County News

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — On Monday afternoon a man was shot and killed while sitting in a vehicle in a quiet neighborhood in Durham.

Durham Police said the man was shot and killed in the 300 block of Pilot Street around 4 p.m. on Monday afternoon.

This was the second of two shootings that occurred on Monday afternoon as another shooting happened in the 200 block of Raynor Street where another man was seriously injured when he was shot while sitting in a vehicle.

As of Saturday, there have been 210 shooting incidents in Durham this year, 63 people have been shot and 11 of those individuals have died.

While shooting incidents are down from the 217 that Durham had seen this time last year, the city has tied where we were last year with 63 people shot.

So far this year Durham has almost doubled the number of deadly shootings, as last year at this time the city had six shooting deaths.

The problem with gun violence continues as Durham Police Chief C.J. Davis prepares to take a new job as police chief in Memphis, Tennessee.

Some people in the community say that if Davis had received enough resources from the city council, she may have decided to stay and crime might not be as high.

“The crimes are going to continue to get worse until they support the police chief,” said Sheryl Smith, a community activist from Durham. “How can she do her job, I mean, if you’re not supporting her, then how can she help solve these crimes.”

Back in June of 2019, Chief Davis requested funding for more police officers. City Council considered two different proposals, one which would have hired 18 more officers, another would have hired 9 more officers. However, Durham City Councilors rejected both proposals with a vote of 4-3.

“I don’t believe that our current priorities and our current situation requires that response,” Durham City Councilman Charlie Reece said at the time.

Several months later, the number of shootings escalated and multiple young people were shot and killed, including 9-year-old Z’Yon Person.

At that point, Durham City Council ended up hiring six new permanent officers for the department’s gang unit.

However, there were other instances where Davis’ requests were not granted.

In 2020, Davis asked for $626,910 to replace hundreds of tasers, but the council never brought this to a vote.

Last year Davis also voiced support for trying out ShotSpotter technology, but that is also at a standstill.

“I think that some folks on the council have made it clear that ‘defunding or abolition of the police’ is certainly something that is on the table,” said Mark-Anthony Middleton, a Durham City Councilman.
Middleton said he had not heard if Davis’ decision had anything to do with the lack of support from the council on different initiatives.

However, he said the council does need to do more to address the problem with the recent shootings.

“We’re going to have to have some heartfelt conversations in Durham about what we want policing to look like,” Middleton said.”But don’t stop at what we want the end vision to be, we have to do the work.”

CBS 17 reached to the city councilors for a comment who had voted against hiring more officers back in 2019, but we have not heard back.

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