CITY OF GREENSBORO Contact: Carla Banks
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Phone: 336-373-3769
City Leadership Reflects on Year of Equity Policy Changes
GREENSBORO, NC (May 25, 2021) – In this year of reckoning on the systemic impacts of racism and inequity, the City of Greensboro leadership has taken steps to pursue racial and social justice for all people. The City of Greensboro’s Reflecting on and Considering Experience (RACE) GSO<www.greensboro-nc.gov/departments/human-rights/race-gso> initiative is working to eradicate racism within our workplace and the community by adopting new policies, practices, and programs to develop concrete ways to end racism and inquality in our community.
Police Policy Changes
After a detailed review, in 2020 the Greensboro Police Department (GPD) made modifications to ensure its policies and practices were comprehensive and served all residents equally. The GPD:
* Implemented a policy for officers to use the minimum amount of force necessary to overcome resistance and affect an arrest.
* Adopted a policy banning chokeholds absent the need to use deadly force.
* Required officers to intervene, both verbally and physically, when excessive force is used or any use of force which violates policy or training.
* Required officers to verbally issue a warning, if possible, before the use of deadly force, including a Taser, pepper spray or the release of a police dog.
* Mandated that officers must verbally inform residents of their right to refuse a consensual search and they also have the right to withdraw consent at any time during a search.
* GPD is also currently exploring racial equity and diversity training for all sworn and non-sworn employees. This training will be coordinated with the International Civil Rights Center and Museum.
The GPD Directives manual<www.greensboro-nc.gov/home/showdocument?id=44992> provides further details.
Removing Barriers to Access and Employment
In an effort to remove barriers that disproportionately impact people of color, City departments were asked to review policies and procedures. Among some of the significant changes, the Greensboro Public Library eliminated fines for overdue books and materials in August 2020. It forgave all outstanding fines, with a goal of removing unnecessary barriers to the most vulnerable patrons.
The Human Resources Department eliminated two barriers to being hired as an employee. Unless a job is safety-sensitive, the City will not consider non-violent drug-related convictions when conducting pre-employment background checks. In doing pre-employment drug screenings, the City will not report tests positive for THC (the chemical found in marijuana) unless a candidate is being hired for a safety-sensitive position.
Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE)
The City’s Office of Equity and Inclusion led the Government Alliance on Race and Equity Initiative (GARE), which the City is calling GSO4Ward. The following highlights examples of GSO4Ward projects and initiatives:
* Hosted “Inclusion Thursday” series, allowing Employee Resource Groups to discuss racial equity and equality.
* Developed Cultural Competency 101 and Advancing Racial Equity training for all City employees.
* Implemented Departmental Racial Equity Action Plans and Scorecard to identify areas of inequities from the departmental perspective.
The Human Rights Department, along with Community Relations, is focused on addressing the needs of our community in order to create to create a safe, inclusive, diverse, and unbiased Greensboro, in which all residents and visitors can thrive. Through these departments and divisions, the City has enhanced its services by:
* Increasing outreach to those experiencing housing discrimination.
* Expanding awareness to reentry/justice-service resources, such as housing, jobs, voting, and education.
* Spearheading pay incentives for bi-lingual City employees.
* Initiating a Transgender Task Force.
* Creating an Ad-hoc Committee for African American disparities.
* Modifying the non-discrimination ordinance to include public accommodations.
* Implementing Leadership Dialogue, an equity and inclusion series for mid-to-high level managers
The Greensboro City Council and City Manager remain committed to actively evaluating policies and making adjustments as needed to align with the goal of achieving racial equity and social justice in Greensboro.
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