Durham Police Equipped with Body Cameras, Mental Health Training | News

Durham Police Equipped with Body Cameras, Mental Health Training

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Nearly all Durham police officers have undergone mental health training, and most are equipped with body cameras, according to the police department's third-quarter crime report, which covers the first nine months of 2017 and was presented to the city council Monday night.

Chief C.J. Davis said she made eight hours of mental health training a requirement for more than five hundred officers.

"It gives them more information about how they could misunderstand a person's mental or physical condition," including responding to substance abuse issues, Davis said.

All officers ranked captain and below are now equipped with body cameras—"one of the wisest decisions the city has made," Davis said. As of last week, the 470 devices had captured more than 117,000 videos. Davis said there are six cases before internal affairs related to officers not turning on cameras when they should under department policy.

Asked by council member Charlie Reece if the DPD would consider posting use-of-force data online, as the Minneapolis Police Department has, Davis said she knows Minnesota’s chief well and "will reach out to him to see how policy drives that and try to be as transparent as we can be."

The department is also working to set up a community engagement center in McDougald Terrace after residents there asked for a greater police presence. Spokesman Wil Glenn said details are still being ironed out.

Violent and property crimes overall are up from the same period last year, while homicides are at a three-year low.

There have been sixteen homicides in 2017, down from thirty last year. One was the result of domestic violence. There has also been a significant increase in cases of rape, from seventy-four reports last year to ninety-seven so far this year.

Davis said many of those cases involve acquaintances, and there is "no indication" of serial offenders. In light of the recent flood of high-profile sexual assault and harassment allegations, Davis said survivors may be feeling more comfortable speaking out or may be "more educated about their rights in personal relationships."


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