GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) – As protests continue across the country following the death of Tyre Nichols questions are arising as to how law enforcement is responding and what changes may or may not be made.
For the Pitt County Sheriff’s Office, Paul Dance says that there are measures in place to hold officers accountable for their actions, like keeping track of the number of accidents they are in and the number of stops, along with ensuring that policies put in place are being followed to keep both community members and officers safe, which includes the duty to intervene.
“These laws are for the heartless not to change the heart. So it’s all we can do is hope to get good officers who recognize what their job is and no one is above the law, even the law,” Pitt County Sheriff Paula Dance said.
Sheriff Dance is also making it clear that the actions of the Memphis Police Department do not reflect those of the officers in Pitt County.
“Many of us are very sad by what we saw. They did not represent us. That is not who we are, so thank you to the countless officers who go out every day and do their job as expected,” Sheriff Dance said.
Greenville Police are working to ensure that the community feels safe starting with reassuring the public that their interactions are being recorded.
Greenville Police Chief Ted Sauls says that the department was one of the first in the area to start providing officers with body cameras, which they began testing and deploying in 2009.
Sauls says that all officers in the department wear them, and are required to turn them on before each interaction they have, and not only are they useful in the event that a complaint may arise, but they are also valuable for performance reviews.
“I think what is most important is for our citizens to understand that we review those and although I cannot look at every moment because there are hours and hours but we review them we review them to see what kind of performance we have, and you may even as a citizen get a phone call from one of my supervisors that says hey I saw you were involved in a traffic stop today with Officer Sauls, how did he do,” Greenville Police Chief Ted Sauls said.
Chief Sauls also says the conversation is never over in terms of furthering the safety of the community.
“We are never above sitting at the table and talking to members of the community, the clergy, or other law enforcement to see what we can do better each and every day,” Sauls said.
The George Floyd Justice In Policing Act failed in the Senate in 2021 after clearing the House, which addressed a wide range of policies regarding policing practices and law enforcement accountability.
The Congressional Black Caucus has asked for a meeting with President Joe Biden this week to move police reform negotiations forward.