- Tuesday, 01 October 2019
- Written by Jeff Thompson
Fayetteville Police Chief Gina V. Hawkins testified on community policing practices before the U.S. House Judiciary Committee Sept. 19. She appeared on behalf of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, or NOBLE. Hawkins is treasurer of the organization. The judiciary committee has oversight responsibility for federal and local police practices.
Rep. Gerald Nadler, D-NY, chaired the meeting. “Without question, the vast majority of law enforcement officers serve honorably under difficult conditions, often risking, and sometimes losing, their lives to protect us,” Nadler said. “There have been, however, a disturbing number of incidents of excessive force used by police against civilians — many of whom were unarmed, most of whom were people of color, and many of which resulted in tragic death — that have put incredible strain on the relationship between law enforcement and their communities.
“We should consider legislative proposals to end racial profiling and to restore trust between law enforcement and the community. And we should explore ways to strengthen data collection on the use of force and racial profiling so police departments can measure the practices they manage,” Nadler said in his opening remarks.
Committee Ranking Member Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga, said he was “concerned that my colleagues on the other side of the aisle will turn today’s hearing into a crusade against all law enforcement officers based on isolated incidents.”
Collins added, “We — as Congress and as Americans — are nothing without the rule of law and its fair and uniform enforcement.”
“My predecessor used technical assistance resources … to help the agency establish a strategy to improve engagement at all levels of the department and particularly with communities of color,” Hawkins said. Her reference was to U.S. Department of Justice police assistance programs that retired Fayetteville Police Chief Harold Medlock sought out to improve local policing. In his three-and-one-half years at the helm of the FPD, Medlock worked tirelessly to improve relations in the African American community.
Chief Hawkins has said law enforcement agencies implement various strategies and methods to combat crime and ensure public safety. Those strategies extend beyond traditional models of responding to calls for service and often seek to increase crime prevention, intervention and response effectiveness. Community outreach, efficient resource distribution, crime mapping and data collection are concepts which comprise CompStat, a crime-reduction strategy that concentrates on improving physical and social order in high-crime locations.
“The safety of police officers and civilians alike depends, in large part, on the strength of the relationship between the police and the public,” said Seth Stoughton, a law professor at the University of South Carolina and a former police officer. “Public distrust of the police can decrease cooperation with law enforcement, which can, in turn, lead to an increase in violent crime. Police distrust of the public, in turn, can lead to an increase in officer misconduct and the use of force, as well as the adoption of aggressive, zero-tolerance tactics that further exacerbate the tension.”
Fayetteville Police Chief Gina Hawkins appeared before the U.S. House Judiciary Committee representing the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives.
- Tuesday, 01 October 2019
- Written by Jeff Thompson
The Cumberland County Health Department said last week that bacterial meningitis had been confirmed in a member of the Methodist University community who is hospitalized. The patient has meningococcal meningitis. No additional cases have been reported. The best way to protect against bacterial meningitis illness is to be vaccinated. All 11- to 12-year-olds should get a vaccine, with a booster dose at 16 years old. More information about meningococcal vaccine recommendations for teenagers is available online by searching Meningococcal Vaccination for Preteens and Teens: Information for Parents. Methodist University individuals who may have been exposed have been contacted and administered protective antibiotics. The health department cannot provide further details about the case to protect confidentiality. Bacterial meningitis can be spread to other people through direct contact with saliva through activities such as kissing or by sharing items such as eating utensils, beverage bottles or cigarettes. If you have questions about immunizations, contact your primary care provider or the Cumberland County Health Department at 910-433-3600.
Health director hired
The Cumberland County Board of Health has selected Dr. Jennifer R. Green to serve as the county’s new public health director effective Nov. 18. Her starting salary is $139,000, according to Assistant County Manager Sally Shutt. Green fills a post that was vacant for two years following the resignation of Buck Wilson. Green has been director of the Riley County Health Department in Manhattan, Kan., since 2016.
“Dr. Green’s educational background, public health leadership experience and passion for meeting the health needs of diverse communities make her well suited to serve as Cumberland County’s Public Health Director,” said Dr. Connette McMahon, chairperson of the board of health. Green received her Bachelor of Science in health science studies and master of public health in community health education from Baylor University. She earned a doctorate in health promotion sciences and public health from the University of Oklahoma Hudson College of Public Health. The Health Department is planning a Community meet-and-greet with Dr. Green on Oct. 15, from 4:30-6 p.m., in the third-floor boardroom of the Public Health Center, located at 1235 Ramsey St.
Visitor’s Bureau commendation
The Fayetteville Area Convention and Visitors Bureau received a gold Tourism Achievement Award at the North Carolina Travel Industry Association’s banquet this month. Tourism Achievement Awards recognize best practices, creativity and results accomplished through the tourism industry’s marketing efforts. FACVB’s sports e-newsletter “Hometown Huddle” was recognized in the Group Visitors category.
“Knowing that marketing and tourism professionals from around the country recognized one of our initiatives for its innovation and creativity is humbling,” said John Meroski, FACVB President and CEO. The awards are presented annually by the NCTIA. Each entry was graded on a sliding point scale system and was evaluated on its own merit and demonstrated success in achieving the stated objectives.
New County Planner
County Manager Amy Cannon has hired Rawls Howard as Cumberland County’s new Planning and Inspections Director effective Oct. 14. Howard is currently the Director of Planning and Community Development in Mooresville, N.C. Howard, a native of Tarboro, has served as a planning director or manager for several local governments of various sizes and complexity in North Carolina, including North Wilkesboro, Greensboro, Greenville, Sunset Beach and Linville Land Harbor, as well as Cedar Park, Texas. He also spent two years in the Peace Corps and assisted with BRAC-style analysis for the Ukrainian government, which involved redevelopment of military bases for civilian economic development purposes. Howard earned a Bachelor of Science degree in geography and urban planning from East Carolina University and a Master of Arts in geography from Appalachian State University. The department’s mission is to promote a safe, stable, culturally and economically viable environment for the citizens of Cumberland County through comprehensive and coordinated planning, with the provision of responsible code enforcement and trade inspections.
2020 Woodpeckers schedule
The Fayetteville Woodpeckers, Class A Advanced MiLB affiliate of the Houston Astros, have announced the schedule for the 2020 season, plus the release of the 2020 half-season ticket package. The Woodpeckers open the season at Segra Stadium on Thursday, April 9, at 7 p.m., against the Frederick Keys.
“Over 250,000 people visited Segra Stadium during our inaugural season,” said Mark Zarthar, president of the Fayetteville Woodpeckers. “The response from our community was remarkable. We are eager to reward our fans by offering a 2020 season full of surprises and hopefully, a Carolina League Championship.”
Half-season packages feature 35 games and come with a variety of benefits, including schedule flexibility, a ticket exchange program and first right to special events. Half-season packages start at $340. Full season tickets are also on sale and start at $500 with one-, three- and five-year term options. The full 2020 schedule can be accessed at www.fayettevillewoodpeckers.com