Government Affairs Update: Downtown Safety & State Technology Discussions

Government Affairs Update: Downtown Safety & State Technology Discussions


Raleigh Safe, Vibrant, and Healthy Community Committee Meeting

The Raleigh City Council divides itself into several internal committees made up of four members to tackle topics as a more focused group prior to the whole council taking action. One is called the Safe, Vibrant & Healthy Community Committee, comprised of Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin, Stormie Forte, Christina Jones, and Megan Patton. 

​This committee met in late September to hear updates from city staff, the Downtown Raleigh Alliance (DRA,) and the Raleigh Police Department (RPD) on the safety situation downtown, and to hear recommendations on ways the city can respond. Lots of information was shared, but here are some highlights:

  • More security is on the way via the installation of more security cameras, a better process to share security footage across areas of downtown, and more manpower resources via more DRA ambassadors and RPD officers.
  • RPD has boosted its presence downtown (including Glenwood South) with dedicated units focused on hotspot areas and how to handle their unique challenges, but they need more uniformed officers. There are roughly 90 vacant officer positions in RPD, and  it takes 7 months for an office to graduate from Raleigh police academy, so this will not be resolved in the short term.
  • Many of the recent disturbances have been caused by juveniles gathering in groups and creating problems, often out of sight in isolated locations that are hard to respond to.
  • RPD is targeting gun seizures along Glenwood South and recommends all businesses install metal detectors at entrances to better screen for firearms and other weapons. They have also temporarily closed Glenwood South to through-traffic during peak weekend hours, but they do not intend to make that a permanent traffic shift.
  • RPD and DRA both recommended boosting social service resources so those who have interactions with DRA or city staff have options available to them other than being processed and released back to the downtown core.
  • RPD Chief Patterson said she was open to private security and company police (who have the authority to carry firearms and arrest individuals so long as it is on the property they are contracted to patrol,) and called them a force multiplier. Private security has been in the news recently as an idea floated to help with downtown’s security concerns, but remains polarizing on city council.

The committee decided to hold the topic of downtown safety until their next meeting, expected next month, and made no recommendations to the council as a whole for action. While the Chamber is calling for swift action on the situation downtown, holding off on recommendations at this time prevents any half-measures from being proposed that may leave the situation unresolved. The Chamber continues to engage with elected officials and city staff to improve our downtown core and city as a whole.

Representative Jason Saine Speaks with the Missouri Chamber and Legislators

The Missouri Chamber of Commerce and many legislators from their state capitol visited Raleigh and came to the Raleigh Chamber to discuss our technology sector and what North Carolina was doing to promote business growth here. We were joined by Representative Jason Saine, a key House of Representatives leader in charge of the state budget and a key figure shaping legislation around tech.
Rep. Saine touted several initiatives he thought were critical for our state, including the General Assembly prioritizing the rollout of 5G and broadband internet service across the state as a way to enable more rural residents to participate in jobs that require high speed internet access, and for employers to feel confident that their employees would remain connected as they travel around the state. He also highlighted North Carolina’s efforts to attract e-sports tournaments as a new way to not just fuel the entertainment sector but also generate interest in computer engineering and technology trades through a tax incentive fund. Lastly, he touted the state’s work to streamline and speed up software procurement procedures so that services could be more swiftly implemented.
We’re proud to host other Chambers and legislators and share how we work to keep our state the best in the nation to do business! 

To learn more about our GA priorities you can visit our webpage.

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About the Author

Kassie Hoffman
Kassie pens down all the news from the world of politics on ANH.