RALEIGH, N.C. (WECT) – The three bills Governor Roy Cooper signed into law Thursday align with recommendations by the Governor’s Task Force for Racial Equity in Criminal Justice (TREC).
“We have seen that the criminal justice system doesn’t always treat everyone the same—and too often the differences are disproportionately felt by people of color,” said Cooper. “This legislation will take us one step further toward a more equitable and just North Carolina for all.”
House Bill 436: Support Law Enforcement Mental Health requires law enforcement officers to undergo psychological screening prior to employment. Officers are also required to be aware of mental health resources and will be educated about maintaining good mental health.
House Bill 536: Law Enforcement Duty to Intervene creates a duty for law enforcement officers to intervene and report excessive use of force by a fellow law enforcement officer. It also mandates that the National Decertification Index be searched as part of the officer certification process .
Senate Bill 300: Criminal Justice Reform outlines changes, recommended by TREC, to improve policing and criminal justice in North Carolina. Changes include:
- Promoting recruitment of officers with diverse backgrounds and experiences and improvimg training so that officers are better equipped to be successful
- Requiring early intervention mechanisms to identify and correct officers who use excessive force or other misconduct
- Furthering independent investigations of police-involved shootings
- Limiting local laws that criminalize poverty
- Requiring a first appearance in court within 72 hours of a person being arrested.
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