Leland Police Chief looks to make improvements to better serve the community

LELAND, NC (WWAY) — Recent events have drawn more attention to behavior of law enforcement officers across the country.

Leland Police Department is taking a look from the inside out, figuring out ways to improve and better serve the community.

Police Chief Brad Shirley says this is not a reaction to recent events.

“When I came on board in February as Chief of Police one of my goals was to take a hard look at the Leland Police Department,” Shirley said.

In March, Shirley enrolled in the Collaborate Reform Initiative developed by the Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services.

The initiative performs a SWOT analysis, which stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.

Shirley used a similar analysis when he was the chief of Boiling Spring Lakes Police Department and says he had positive results.

First the department employees, not just officers, analyze the agency. Then the community shares their feedback too.

“The police are the community and the community are the police,” Shirley said. “We can’t do our job without the community.”

Shirley says it’s not just important, but essential for him to have tough conversations with members of the community.

“I want to hear from them, but I want to have an honest conversation with them. Not just a sound-byte, a photo-op, things of that nature,” he said. “If we want to enact change, if change is what is needed, then we all have to agree to what that change is.”

He says change is already in motion.

A new Policy and Procedures Manual has been in the works since October and will go into effect in July.

He says critical policies will be first on the list, but he anticipates 100% implementation of the new policies by January 2021.

Chief Shirley says he looks forward to having conversations with the community about anything.

“We’ve got to sit across from one another, shake each other’s hands, look at each other in the eye, understand and have a conversation about anything,” he said. “Whether it’s about what happened in Minneapolis with the death of George Floyd or any other policy or procedure that people question within the police department.”

He says he wants to be a proactive chief, not a reactive one.

“We have to have community and it takes the community, and it takes the community with the police to do it,” Shirley said. “And we’re all in at Leland Police Department.”

If all goes as planned, the first community meeting could be held as early as August, following the internal analysis of the department.

The findings from this program will be gathered in a report and present to town officials.

Chief Shirley says he will also implement the feedback in the department’s long-term strategic plan.

Categories: Brunswick, Local

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