RALEIGH — Members of the North Carolina Legislative Black Caucus filed in after Representative Rodney Moore Monday afternoon to support his new bill.

“We must do all that we can to make sure we have well-trained officers that understand the mission to protect and serve not just for some interests or some segments in our community, but for all segments of our communities,” said Rep. Moore.

The bill aims to eliminate discriminatory profiling by police officers through mandatory training.

It also calls for the creation of more citizen review boards across the state in order to investigate complaints made against the police.

“We need legislation like this to hold the police accountable. But it is scary right now,” said Jaymes Powell, a supporter of the bill. “It is scary in this state right now to be an African American because if something happens to me on the way home, I doubt anyone would be held accountable.”

The executive director for the NC Police Benevolent Association John Midgette points out it is already against the law for officers to engage in racial profiling.

He said he is in favor of more transparency, if it is done in the correct way.

“The problem is you can’t set up review boards without the same hard standards that officers themselves have to prescribe to. Therefore, you want something that is not a vigilante type board, but one that is rooted in the rule of law,” Midgette said.

He said he understands emotions are high now across the country, but thinks more work needs to be done on the bill before it becomes state law.

“The fact is there is not a wholesale, race based profiling by police against minorities,” Midgette said. “That is not happening in this country. The fact the perception is there opens the door for dialogue to see what we can do better to better represent and protect our citizens.”

Doing better when it comes to representation and protection is something both sides of the issue agree on.

“We owe it to the citizens of our state as elected officials, law enforcement officials and people of goodwill to do all we can to eradicate this problem,” Moore said.

– Amy Elliott