By Syd Roberts, Communications Staff

This December CJPC, Executive Director Dawn Blagrove was able to share her breadth of expertise on a police accountability panel at the 75th Annual NAACP of NC State Convention in Raleigh. Towards the end of a day full of legislative sessions and GOTV strategy workshops, she joined University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill Professor of Political Science Frank Baumgartner and Scott Holmes, assistant clinical professor of law and director of the civil litigation clinic at the North Carolina Central University School of Law, to discuss criminal justice reform.

During the panel, Dawn spoke at length about the tangible measures that can—and should—be taken to equalize the current disproportionate power dynamic between communities of color and law enforcement. This included steps to make community voices heard with a Citizens Advisory Board and hiring committees that center resident concerns in choices made about safety and policing. She also argued for further transparency regarding who current employed officers are and periodic disclosure of policing data reports detailing filed grievances.

Given that the criminal-legal system is often shrouded by jargon, unclear protocols, and opaque bureaucratic processes, Dawn also addressed NAACP members about the need for public and easily accessible policing policies. She noted that these procedures, on top of being widely available, should also be developed as to outline actions and consequences in a clear way.

Alongside all of these common sense reforms, Dawn additionally mapped out small but impactful ways to incorporate community policing policies. In order to combat gun violence and access to illegal guns, we need programs that promote proper securing of weapons. To address disconnect between community needs and local police, law enforcement personnel need to reflect the demographics of citizens. And, in the event of injury during interactions with police, official family liaison roles could make an enormous difference by ensuring loved ones of police brutality victims are given the streamlined attention they deserve to address misconduct and health issues.

Carolina Justice Policy Center is dedicated to actualizing the goals and ambitions Dawn outlined and is actively working to create effective, equitable, and humane solutions to North Carolina’s criminal justice problems.

If you are able to support us and want to help make these much needed reforms a reality, please consider making a gift today.