Other Group

Durham Beyond Policing

Website:

durhambeyondpolicing.org/

Location:

Durham, NC

Type:

Community Organization

Director:

Manju Rajendran

Durham Beyond Policing is a left-of-center community organization that advocates for cuts to the Durham, North Carolina police department and shifting funds to welfare spending for housing, mental healthcare, and community policing by local organizations.

Background

Durham Beyond Policing began in 2016 as a campaign to protest the construction of a modernized police headquarters for the city of Durham, North Carolina. [1] The city intended to modernize the office and allow the police to leave an older and outdated building they occupied since 1991. [2]

Durham Beyond Policing’s campaign involved collecting signatures opposing the project, weekly rallies, picketing, and canvasing. [3] The campaign was ultimately unsuccessful and failed to gain sufficient community support, and the new police headquarters was completed in 2018. [4]

Funding

Durham Beyond Policing receives funding from the Southern Vision Alliance, [5] a left-of-center organization and recommends that visitors to its website donate to the Southern Vision Alliance. [6]

Campaign to Slow Police Hiring

In 2019, Durham Beyond Policing orchestrated a successful campaign to prevent the hiring of 72 new police officers. [7] The chief of police for Durham argued that the expansion was necessary given the rate at which the city is growing, and that the hiring would take place over the course of the next three years. [8]

The campaign’s decision to place a hiring freeze on new police officers ultimately led to the addition of only 18 new police officers, [9] and the decision to dedicate $1 million to so-called “alternatives to policing.” [10]

In 2020, with the assistance of  Durham for All, a left-of-center race- and social-policy focused organization that seeks to elect Democratic Party-aligned politicians, Durham Beyond Policing successfully ended the city’s plan to fill five police officer vacancies by convincing the city to instead divert those funds to mental health projects funded by the government. [11]

Shifting Money Away from Policing

Durham Beyond Policing advocates for funds to be shifted away from policing and toward alternatives to traditional crime prevention. [12]

In its 2019 proposal to the Durham city council [13] the organization outlined various measures it believed the city should adopt using funds made available by limiting reducing the budget of the city’s police department. [14]

One of the key proposals is a demand that the city of Durham financially support Durham Beyond Policing through the formation of a Community-Led Safety and Wellness Task Force staffed by Durham Beyond Policing members with an annual budget of $200,000. [15] In addition, the proposal requested funds to increase the minimum wage for part-time city workers to $15 an hour and funds to increase government-subsidized housing. [16]

Leadership

Manju Rajendran is the interim executive director of Durham Beyond Policing. Rajendran is a self-styled “queer, working class, South Asian migrant” who grew up in North Carolina. [17]

References

  1. “About” Durham Beyond Policing. https://durhambeyondpolicing.org/about/ ^
  2. “Years in the making: Durham Police Department has new home” WRAL News. October 17, 2018. Accessed December 15, 2022. https://www.wral.com/years-in-the-making-durham-police-department-has-new-home/17922488/ ^
  3. “About” Durham Beyond Policing. https://durhambeyondpolicing.org/about/ ^
  4. “Years in the making: Durham Police Department has new home” WRAL News. October 17, 2018. Accessed December 15, 2022. https://www.wral.com/years-in-the-making-durham-police-department-has-new-home/17922488/ ^
  5. “Sponsored Projects” Southern Vision Alliance. https://southernvision.org/sponsored-projects/ ^
  6. “Giving – Durham Beyond Policing” Durham Beyond Policing. https://durhambeyondpolicing.org/give/ ^
  7. Willets, Sarah. “Does the Durham Police Department Really Need 72 More Cops?” March 27, 2019. Accessed December 15, 2022. https://indyweek.com/news/durham/does-the-durham-police-department-really-need-72-more-cops/ ^
  8. Willets, Sarah. “Does the Durham Police Department Really Need 72 More Cops?” March 27, 2019. Accessed December 15, 2022. https://indyweek.com/news/durham/does-the-durham-police-department-really-need-72-more-cops/ ^
  9. “Durham for All Questionnaire for Mayor and City Council Candidates -2019” Durham for All.  https://durhamforall.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/Caballero-2019-D4A-council-questionnaire.pdf ^
  10. “About” Durham Beyond Policing. https://durhambeyondpolicing.org/about/ ^
  11. “About” Durham Beyond Policing. https://durhambeyondpolicing.org/about/ ^
  12. “About” Durham Beyond Policing. https://durhambeyondpolicing.org/about/ ^
  13. “Proposal for a Community-Led Safety and Wellness Task Force” Durham Beyond Policing. https://durhambeyondpolicing.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Durham-Beyond-Policing-Budget-Proposal-2019-2020.pdf ^
  14. [1] “Proposal for a Community-Led Safety and Wellness Task Force” Durham Beyond Policing. https://durhambeyondpolicing.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Durham-Beyond-Policing-Budget-Proposal-2019-2020.pdf ^
  15. “Proposal for a Community-Led Safety and Wellness Task Force” Durham Beyond Policing. https://durhambeyondpolicing.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Durham-Beyond-Policing-Budget-Proposal-2019-2020.pdf ^
  16. “Proposal for a Community-Led Safety and Wellness Task Force” Durham Beyond Policing. https://durhambeyondpolicing.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Durham-Beyond-Policing-Budget-Proposal-2019-2020.pdf ^
  17. “Manju Rajendran” Anti-Oppression Resources & Training Alliance. https://aorta.coop/manju ^
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Durham Beyond Policing


Durham, NC