The Durham City Council set aside $2.8 million in the 2021-22 budget for a new 15-person Community Safety Department on Monday, per a report from WRAL.
The department will include community responders, nurses, social workers and researchers. They will respond remotely to non-urgent and nonviolent calls over the summer—such as mental health situations and minor traffic incidents—and transition to in-person responses by fall 2021. In-person responses to critical 911 calls are set to potentially begin in spring 2022.
The Council transferred funding for five positions from the Durham Police Department to the CSD, according to WRAL. The Chronicle reported that the Council would also consider transferring another 15 positions later this year and 20 positions per year for the next three years, which would result in a total of 60 positions being cut from DPD within the next three years.
The Council also approved $6 million for reparations for slavery. The money will be used to fund green and equitable infrastructure in historically Black neighborhoods.
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Leah Boyd is a Pratt junior and editor-in-chief of The Chronicle's 117th volume.