This month, Chapel Hill Police will continue monitoring specific streets and crosswalks throughout town, as part of their ongoing initiative to promote pedestrian and bicycle safety.
On Wednesday, February 4, from 8:45-9:45 a.m., officers will be near campus, monitoring the area around Country Club Road, Boundary Street and Battle Lane. On Thursday at the same time, officers will be posted on Columbia Street at the UNC Health Sciences Building.
Next Tuesday, February 10, officers will monitor South Columbia Street between Franklin Street and Cameron Avenue, also from 8:45-9:45 in the morning. Then on Tuesday, February 24, from 7:30-8:30 a.m., officers will be stationed on Raleigh Road at Glen Lennox.
It’s all to make sure drivers, bikers and pedestrians are following the rules of the road, especially around crosswalks. Officers may cite violations, including drivers who don’t yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk or pedestrians who cross against the signals. Fines and court costs for those violations may cost you more than $200.
Those police patrols are part of a much larger initiative the Town is undertaking to promote bicycle and pedestrian safety.
For more information on how to stay safe on the roads (for drivers, bikers and pedestrians), visit this page on the town’s website.
If you’d like to share your concerns about bike and pedestrian safety with the Town of Chapel Hill – including specific areas where safety is a particular issue – visit this page.http://chapelboro.com/news/safety/chpd-patrol-crosswalks-february-bike-pedestrian-safety/
Wednesday afternoon in Pittsboro, U.S. Marshals arrested a man wanted in Chapel Hill on multiple charges of dealing cocaine.
29-year-old Justin Hardy has been charged with six counts each of felony cocaine possession and possession with intent to sell. The Chapel Hill PD issued a warrant for Hardy on December 30 following a narcotics investigation. Hardy was arrested by the U.S. Marshals Joint Fugitive Task Force, after they pulled over a vehicle in which he was suspected of being a passenger.
The full statement from the U.S. Marshals Service is below:
Pittsboro, NC – Yesterday afternoon at 12:15 PM, Justin Demond Hardy, a 29 year old, Black Male, was arrested by the U.S. Marshals Joint Fugitive Task Force (JFTF). On December 30, 2014, warrants were issued by the Chapel Hill Police Department charging Hardy with Possession with Intent to Sell and Deliver Cocaine (six counts) and Felony Possession of Cocaine (six counts).
The warrants were obtained after the Chapel Hill Police Department conducted a narcotics investigation in which Hardy was suspected of selling the illegal drugs. The warrants allege that Hardy sold the cocaine on six separate occasions.
After conducting surveillance in the area, JFTF was able to positively identify Hardy as a passenger in a vehicle. A traffic stop of the vehicle was conducted and Hardy was taken into custody without incident.
The U.S. Marshals Joint Fugitive Task Force for the Middle District of North Carolina is comprised of investigators from the U.S. Marshals Service, Chapel Hill Police Department, Durham Police Department, Greensboro Police Department, High Point Police Department, Winston-Salem Police Department, Alamance County Sheriff’s Office, the North Carolina State Highway Patrol and the North Carolina Department of Public Safety, Department of Community Corrections – Probation & Parole. For more information you can go to www.usmarshals.gov.http://chapelboro.com/news/crime/chapel-hill-man-arrested-cocaine/
UPDATE: Mr. Glenn has been located and is safe, according to Town of Chapel Hill officials.
The NC Center for Missing Persons had issued a Silver Alert for Martin Alexander Glenn, of Chapel Hill.
Martin Alexander Glenn is a 39-year-old white male, 6’2″ and 195 pounds with brown eyes and short brown hair, last seen wearing a gray jacket and dark blue jeans. He was last seen Saturday, January 10, on Mt. Carmel Church Road.
In the wake of the events of Ferguson, Missouri, a national debate has erupted over policing in local communities: are racial minorities unfairly targeted, and if so, what should police departments be doing to address that issue?
On Saturday, the Chapel Hill-Carrboro NAACP welcomed Chapel Hill Police Chief Chris Blue, Carrboro Police Chief Walter Horton, and Orange County Sheriff Charles Blackwood for a two-hour forum on policing here in Orange County, with topics ranging from the role of police in schools to the use of deadly force.
Listen to Aaron Keck’s full story on WCHL.
Listen to Saturday’s forum in its entirety (approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes long). Additional highlights from the forum can be found below.
“The events that we’ve experienced in other parts of the country have made it clear that we have work to do in our own community,” said Diane Robertson, who moderated Saturday’s forum at the Rogers Road Community Center. About 50 people packed the room, including several elected officials.
At issue was the question of “implicit bias” in policing: do police officers unfairly target racial minorities, even without intending to? Blue, Horton and Blackwood all reiterated that their officers don’t intentionally discriminate.
“I think if you show raw data to the officers – which we have – they’ll say, ‘man, I’m surprised by those numbers, it doesn’t feel like it would be skewed,'” Chief Blue said. “I know for folks out there in the community it feels very obvious that it’s skewed, but for those officers, I don’t think there’s intentional effort to skew the data one way or the other.”
Chief Horton agreed. “When I was on patrol, I didn’t look at the race of the person I was stopping, I was looking at the car – if a tag was out, I’d stop the car for a violation – and I’m pretty sure that’s how it is now,” he said.
“We want to do the right thing,” Sheriff Blackwood added. “I don’t think anybody puts the uniform on with an evil heart.”
But even if there’s no intent to discriminate, there are numbers suggesting that minorities in Orange County do get singled out. About 20 percent of the traffic stops in Orange County involve black drivers, even though only 10 percent of the population is black – and when they’re pulled over, black and Latino drivers are also 2-3 times more likely to have their vehicles searched than white drivers are in the same circumstances.
Those numbers indicate a serious issue in our community – even if the cause, or the solution, isn’t as obvious.
Stephanie Perry (in attendance) discusses implicit bias with Sheriff Blackwood, arguing that officers will “congregate” in low-income or majority-black neighborhoods.
Sheriff Blackwood responds to Perry (in the most heated moment of the forum): of vehicles searched in Orange County last year, he says, 23 were driven by black drivers and 20 were driven by white drivers.
Diane Robertson replies to Blackwood: “(That) might seem almost 50/50, but that’s not the population breakdown.”
“We’re scratching our head about some of the same data,” Chief Blue said. “If I could figure out exactly why those disparities are happening, I would take action immediately, but I’m not sure either.”
Chief Blue says the CHPD will bring in trainers this year to help officers recognize and deal with implicit bias.
But all three police chiefs said they were committed to addressing the issue and improving the quality of policing in Orange County – in a variety of different ways. Many of those efforts are already ongoing: Sheriff Blackwood said his department is beginning to reward officers who speak a second language; Chief Blue said the Chapel Hill PD documents and reviews every single use of force by an officer; and Chief Horton spoke of community policing and similar efforts to improve communication between officers and citizens.
Chief Horton discusses the importance of communication.
And all three emphasized the importance of CIT, or Crisis Intervention Training, as an effective tool for training officers to de-escalate tense situations.
Chief Blue discusses the CHPD’s goal with respect to the CIT program.
Sheriff Blackwood describes a recent incident where an officer’s CIT training helped resolve a dangerous situation.
In addition to programs already in effect, Chiefs Blue and Horton both said they were hoping to roll out a body camera program in the next fiscal year.
Chief Blue discusses the benefits (and possible challenges) of body cameras.
And all of those efforts have had some positive effects. For one, Chief Blue says there’s been a steady decrease in the number of times his officers have had to use force.
“Those continue to trend down,” he said Saturday. “We investigate every single complaint we receive, and we require – even if we don’t get a complaint – any time an officer uses force, we document every single (instance). And those numbers are trending down.”
But while that statistic is promising, the larger issue persists. Sheriff Blackwood said it’s important for all of us to highlight our similarities rather than our differences: “I was always taught that when you take our skin off, we’re the same color; there is no difference, we’re human beings first.”
Sheriff Blackwood discusses the process of training for when to use and when not to use deadly force – a question that, for him, hits very close to home.
But moderator Robertson responded that there’s still a gap between that ideal and everyday reality. “We may be all the same on the inside, but we’re not all the same on the outside,” she said, “and I think the concern is that that’s having an effect on how people are being treated.”
And Chief Blue added that that gap generates mistrust, where officers and citizens can begin to suspect each other even when no one is doing anything wrong.
Chief Blue describes a “powerful phone call” he received recently from a resident.
The issues raised at Saturday’s forum will likely take years to address, if not longer. Chief Blue said his department is doing a great deal to tackle the problem – but it’s an ongoing project.
“This implicit bias stuff is tough,” he said. “Over two years ago we began a process of quarterly analysis of every single traffic stop by an officer, (requiring) supervisors to certify to me that they’ve had a conversation about their data…and that’s enabled us to have some important conversations, and I believe it’s laid the foundation for some of this implicit-bias training that we’re going to do…
“However, it’s very hard to know what’s in someone’s heart. We all bring bias into every encounter…so being able to talk about it together is, in my mind, the only way to bring it to a level of consciousness where you can feel bias creeping in and take some action in response.”
And insofar as we in Orange County are not immune from bias – and insofar as we are all human, as Sheriff Blackwood observed – our community is also not immune from the issues that sparked such a national outcry last year.
“This community really isn’t that far from Ferguson,” said Robertson. “That is, I think, why people are here today.”http://chapelboro.com/news/safety/work-naacp-hosts-police-chiefs-sheriff/
***UPDATE: Chapel Hill Police reported on Saturday afternoon that Tamara Finnerson has been located and is safe and sound.***
The NC Center for Missing Persons issued a Silver Alert for a Chapel Hill woman, 18-year-old Tamara Nicole Finnerson.
Tamara Finnerson is African-American, 5’4″ tall and 200 pounds, with short black hair and brown eyes, last seen leaving UNC Hospital at around 5 pm on Tuesday, December 30. She was wearing blue leggings, a navy blue jacket with white collar and cuffs, and gray, red, and black Nike sneakers.
Chapel Hill Police are investigating an armed robbery that took place at the Pizza Hut at 109 S. Estes Dr. just after midnight on Sunday.
According to the police report, a suspect entered the restaurant and demanded money while holding an employee at gunpoint.
$625 dollars in cash was reported stolen in the robbery.http://chapelboro.com/news/crime/chapel-hill-police-investigate-armed-robbery-pizza-hut/
The Chapel Hill Police Department is searching for a missing woman who was last seen September 20.
Nakia Quilynn Mosley was last seen on Weatherstone Drive in Chapel Hill. She is 5’9” with brown hair and brown eyes. Mosley is 39 years old and her date of birth is May 2, 1975.
Please contact the Chapel Hill Police Department at (919) 968-2760 if you have any information on Mosley’s whereabouts.
Chapel Hill police responded on Thursday morning to another report of a pedestrian being struck by a car.
The incident occurred at 11:47 am on East Franklin Street between Elliott Road and Estes Drive. Police say 21-year-old Scott Imura of Chapel Hill was in a crosswalk when he was struck by a Honda minivan driven by 42-year-old Courtney Ritter of Pittsboro.
Imura was transported to UNC Hospitals with minor injuries; Ritter was cited for failing to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk and failing to reduce speed to avoid a crash.
The Chapel Hill Police Department is actively engaged in an ongoing program to improve pedestrian and bicycle safety in town. This is already the second reported incident of a pedestrian struck by a vehicle on Franklin Street this month.
The full statement from Chapel Hill Police is below:
At 11:47 today, November 13th, 2014. The Chapel Hill Police Department responded to a report of a pedestrian that had been struck by a vehicle at 1520 East Franklin Street. Preliminary investigation revealed that Scott Imura, 21, of Chapel Hill was crossing East Franklin Street within a marked crosswalk when he was struck by a 2007 Honda Odyssey Minivan driven by Courtney Ritter, 42, of Pittsboro. Ms. Ritter was issued citations for failing to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk and failure to reduce speed to avoid a crash. Mr. Imura was transported to UNC Hospital for minor injuries by Orange County EMS.
The Chapel Hill Police Department participates in the statewide “Watch for Me NC” program. The program aims to reduce pedestrian and bicycle injuries and deaths through a comprehensive, targeted approach of public education and police enforcement.
For more information about “Watch for Me NC” you may visit http://www.watchformenc.org.http://chapelboro.com/news/safety/pedestrian-struck-vehicle-franklin-street/
From Chapel Hill Police:
The Chapel Hill Police Department is currently seeking help in locating the following missing person: Raymond Franklin Huntington is a white male born on December 10, 1956. He is about 6’ 2” tall, has a large build, gray hair and a goatee.
Mr. Huntington was last seen on November 10th in the area of Granville Road in Chapel Hill. Mr. Huntington left driving in a black Honda CR-V, NC License Plate HUMNISIM. He was expected to drive to Raleigh and failed to return home. Mr. Huntington is diabetic and is not believed to have his medications.
If you have information concerning the whereabouts of Raymond Huntington, please call the Chapel Hill Police Department at 919-968-2870 or contact Orange County Communications by calling 911 or 919-732-5063 immediately.http://chapelboro.com/news/safety/chpd-seeks-missing-man-57/
Another incident involving a vehicle striking a pedestrian – two pedestrians, in this case – occurred late Thursday night in downtown Chapel Hill.
According to Chapel Hill police, the incident took place on West Franklin Street at about 11 p.m. Two pedestrians, one male and one female, were struck by a vehicle in the crosswalk by SunTrust Bank.
The driver remained on scene, and both pedestrians were transported to UNC Hospitals with minor injuries.
The full statement from Chapel Hill Police is below:
“On Thursday at approximately 11 p.m., the Chapel Hill Police Department responded to a reported traffic accident involving two pedestrians on W. Franklin St. Upon officers arrival they found a male and female that had reportedly been struck by a vehicle while in the crosswalk in front of SunTrust Bank. Both the male and female were transported to UNC Hospital with what appeared to be only minor injuries. Both driver and vehicle were still on scene. The investigation is ongoing and additional information will be forthcoming.”
The Town of Chapel Hill has stepped up its efforts to promote bike and pedestrian safety this month – including targeted enforcement and electronic signs in high-traffic areas. Read more about it here.http://chapelboro.com/news/safety/two-hit-car-thurs-night-franklin-st/