North Carolina General Assembly, law enforcement propose changes as Derek Chauvin Trial continues

The North Carolina Sheriffs’ Association is proposing several changes, including eliminating “gypsy policing.”

GASTONIA, N.C. — As the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin enters its seventh day, political and law enforcement leaders in North Carolina are reviewing policy and legislative solutions to build trust and transparency with communities.

The North Carolina Sheriffs’ Association (NCSA) released a 32-page report late last year, which proposed several changes to the law enforcement profession.

The proposed changes would stretch from the start of a law enforcement officer’s career to their retirement.

Eddie Caldwell, the NCSA’s executive vice president and general counsel, said George Floyd’s death showed not every individual is qualified to be in law enforcement.

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“The sheriffs felt like that we needed to look at what we were doing in this state,” Caldwell said. “To identify those things that we’re doing exceptionally well; identify those things that we could improve on.”

One area the NCSA flagged is the concept of “gypsy policing,” which is when an officer resigns from an agency after being accused of misconduct and heads down the road to work for a smaller agency that wasn’t aware of the officer’s prior misconduct.

“That’s a problem and has been for a long time,” Caldwell said.

The NCSA is also lobbying the North Carolina General Assembly to pass into law some of the recommendations outlined in the report, including a “duty to intervene and report” law.

“(It) would require an officer who observes another officer using excessive force to intervene and stop that if the observing officer can do so safely,” Caldwell said. “Then, in any case, the observing officer is required to report that use of excessive force.”

Separate from the NCSA’s efforts, three state senators are sponsoring a bill that would require law enforcement agencies to release publicly body camera video 48 hours after an incident unless a superior court judge restricted its release.

Another proposed senate bill would require state and local governments to make public the reasons why a government employee, including a law enforcement officer, was suspended, fired, or demoted.

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