Building Trust between Law Enforcement & Community
Sheriff Birkhead Launches “Community Advisory Board”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Durham, NC (Friday, August 16, 2019) --- Durham County Sheriff Clarence F. Birkhead today announced the creation of the “Sheriff’s Community Advisory Board” (CAB) and encouraged local residents to participate in this new initiative to better connect the local community with law enforcement.
“During my campaign to become Sheriff, I promised our office would follow a model of transparency, engagement and accountability,” said Sheriff Birkhead. “The mechanism to truly fulfill this promise is the Sheriff’s Community Advisory Board. Applications are now open for all Durham County residents to participate and serve. I look forward building upon the good working relationships our office has established with all segments of the Durham community. This initiative will build trust between law enforcement and the community we serve.”
At a press conference earlier today, Sheriff Birkhead stressed CAB will not follow the model of citizen review panels which are commonplace at other law enforcement agencies across the United States, whereby those Boards review appeals by citizens who file complaints on dispositions imposed by the Chief of Police or his/her designee. What makes this initiative unique to Durham County is that CAB will become the forum to discuss concerns, needs and offer solutions in order to create safer communities. “No one knows better what’s going on than the people we serve,” Sheriff Birkhead said. “CAB will build enduring partnerships by building trust between law enforcement and the community.”
All Durham County residents may apply by visiting the Sheriff’s website at http://www.durhamsheriff.com/community/community-advisory-board. Interested applicants must be at least 21 years of age, reside in Durham County and be willing to attend the Community Academy to learn and understand the operations and responsibilities of the agency. Applications are being accepted now until September 1, 2019.
Qualifications and Guidelines 1. Must reside in Durham
2. Must be at least 21 years of age
3. Ability to listen and engage positively with people from different cultures and socio-economic backgrounds with varying opinions
4. Demonstrated ability to think independently and work collaboratively
5. Open-minded, curious, accepting, responsive, and willing to work with others
6. Ability to think critically, ask, and answer questions
7. Ability to understand issues from different perspectives
8. Ability to understand and process information (print, online, and oral) effectively and efficiently
9. Upon appointment, must attend the Community Academy to learn and understand the operations and responsibilities of the DCSO
10. Must sign a confidentiality agreement
The Board will convene once a quarter before the end of the calendar year. There may be times when the Sheriff will call an additional meeting should important matters arise.
Community members will be appointed to serve for two (2) years at the pleasure of the Sheriff. They will be subject to dismissal for breaching confidentiality or behavior that could potentially damage the Office of the Sheriff, including but not limited to social media comments/posts.
The Board will serve as the voice of the community by presenting issues, suggesting ideas and offering advice. The intention of the board is to build trust and create a positive working relationship between DCSO and the larger Durham County community.
As an elected official, Sheriff Birkhead is bound by State of North Carolina Constitutional statutes which guide the Office of the Sheriff. He may not transfer his administrative duties to an individual or an advisory board. Consequently, the Board may suggest or recommend; but the final authority/decision or any action will rest solely with the Sheriff.
*Inform the Sheriff of community issues or concerns
*Offer ideas and suggestions to address and resolve community concerns
*Advise the Sheriff on how to improve community trust between law enforcement and their respective communities
*Uncover blind spots that are evident to the community but not necessarily specific to law enforcement
*Inform the community of important initiatives and bring feedback to the Sheriff
*Attend all quarterly meetings of the Board
*Maintain confidentiality of all closed meetings and information acquired as a board member