Why did the City create the Community Safety Department?

Statement from City Manager Wanda Page about the creation of the Community Safety Department:

“One of the highest priorities areas we think about, and work on daily, is how best to keep our residents safe and well. It’s no secret that there is great concern about violent crime in Durham. At the same time, there is concern about the history of policing in our country and its impact on people of color. Right now, Durham has an opportunity to lead the way and find new, equitable, and innovative approaches to keep our community safe and well.   

The creation of this department reflects our belief that responding to the safety and wellness needs of all of our residents requires more than police officers, firefighters, and paramedics. Our first responders remain absolutely necessary and crucial to our public safety services moving forward. We still need policing to help protect our community. 

But, it’s unfair to expect them to address every single issue our residents experience. For example, to expect that - on top of everything they must do - they address mental and behavioral health needs or connect residents to social services to help them through a crisis. I’d like to note that many of our officers also support exploring other ways to address 911 calls that don’t need an officer response.

Meeting these sorts of diverse needs requires that we broaden our imagination of what public safety and first responders look like in Durham. I believe, as does the City Council, that creating this department is an important first step in that journey.”

Show All Answers

1. Why did the City start with “pilots”?
2. What is Crisis Call Diversion (CCD)?
3. What is a Community Response Team (CRT)?
4. What is Co-Response (CoR)?
5. What is a Care Navigator (CN)?
6. Where do these HEART units operate?
7. Why don’t all units operate citywide? Will they ever?
8. How did you select the service area and why use police beats?
9. What are the hours of operation for each pilot?
10. Why don’t units operate 24/7? Will they ever?
11. How did you select the hours of operation?
12. Will these new responses slow down 9-1-1 in sending a response as call takers have to learn about the new responses?
13. How are you going to keep unarmed responders safe?
14. Can I request one of these responses?
15. Is there a number other than 9-1-1 to request these services?
16. Why do I have to go through 9-1-1 to get an unarmed response?
17. What kinds of personnel are staffing these units, and what kinds of training have they had prior to starting with DCSD?
18. What kinds of additional training will DCSD staff have prior to responding to calls for service?
19. What kinds of calls for service are eligible for HEART and how did you select them?
20. How are these programs being evaluated?
21. How can I follow the progress of the HEART program?
22. How did you develop these pilot plans? Who did DCSD work with to plan?
23. Why did the City create the Community Safety Department?