06/27/17 — Community police roundtable

View Archive

Community police roundtable

By Rochelle Moore
Published in News on June 27, 2017 10:16 PM


A lack of jobs, collaboration between community organizations and mistrust were several concerns that came to the forefront of a community police roundtable Tuesday night.

The roundtable was organized by Operation Unite Goldsboro in an effort to bring decision-makers together to find ways to reduce crime in the Goldsboro area.

Residents, as well as police officers, educators, nonprofit leaders and judges, attended the event and shared their thoughts about some of the problems facing the community.

Cutral Holmes, a local resident, said resources and alternatives need to be available to help people turn away from a life of crime.

"If you tell this man to stop selling drugs, what is he going to do?" Holmes said. "We need some jobs in Goldsboro."

Resident Bobby Jones said there is a connection between crime and the lack of employment.

Mayor Chuck Allen said a lack of coordination exists between different groups trying to offer services or programs in the city. He also said city leaders lack a connection to some of Goldsboro's poorest neighborhoods.

"You have a lot of different groups trying to do different things, but they don't work together a lot of times very well," Allen said. "There's a lot of people doing a lot of really good stuff. There's not a lot of coordination amongst any groups of who's doing what.

"How do we better coordinate all our efforts?"

Resident Trebor Jackson said that a greater effort needs to be made to bring people together, instead of separated due to fear or mistrust. He also said people from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds are fearful of interacting with people who are different.

"Our kids are intimidated to be around good things," he said. "I can be riding somewhere and I can hit the lock button, too, because I can be scared, too.

"We've got to build a bridge and bring everybody together. What we've got to do is come together and work both sides of the fence."

Jackson also said open communication and "being real" would help build trust and understanding.

Several officers from the Goldsboro Police Department provided updates on their progress in fighting crime, including Chief Mike West, who said the department continues to work to build up its manpower from 93 officers to a full staff of 110.

GPD Maj. Anthony Carmon said investigators are committed to keeping residents safe but they need people to be willing to share information they may have in relation to crimes.

One of the barriers investigators face is the unwillingness of people to tell officers what they know, instead of being afraid of retaliation.

"We need to break out of that," Carmon said. "We definitely need to get away from walking away from something when you see it. We need you to reach out and encourage people if they know something to tell us.

"We're trying to make Goldsboro safe for all of us."

Jermaine Dawson, organizer of several town hall style meetings this year, said a list needs to be created that includes all the programs, services and resources available in the area. He also said plans need to move forward to bring change.

"We haven't come up with a plan yet," Dawson said. "I'm tired of the problem. I'm tired of the murders. Let's find some solutions."

Mark Colebrook, with Operation Unite Goldsboro, said the community has the potential to address its social ills.

"Every answer we need is right here in our community," Colebrook said. "I promise you it is.

"I'm trying to do whatever it takes. If we don't do something, mothers are going to keep burying their kids."