GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – A new bill proposed by the City of Greenville is looking to add a new unit to the Greenville Police Department.
The proposal of House Bill 1011, if passed, would create a traffic investigators team. Currently, any crash within city limits is investigated by law enforcement.
State Rep. Brian Farkas, a supporter of the bill, said the bill has one important purpose.
“Under this bill, the police department would be allowed to employ these investigators, who would then free up time for our sworn officers to do what we want them doing, fighting crime, not paperwork,” said Farkas.
A big push also for this bill is the city is averaging around 4,000 to 5,000 traffic crashes per year. That’s an average of 10 to 12 crashes per day.
“I believe from a service standpoint to our community, they’re going to see an increased service in the way the efficiency and how we handle those crash investigations, improve safety, directing traffic around the scenes of all traffic crashes, and then getting your police report as quick as possible to you,” said Greenville Police Chief Mark Holtzman.
If the bill is passed, that means in the case of a serious investigation involving injury, a police officer will handle and investigate the crash. For non-serious crashes and property-damage-only accidents, that’s when the traffic crash investigators will handle the situation.
“So what we’re trying to do is just differentiate between that and work together in a more efficient manner,” said Holtzman.
Traffic investigators will go through the same basic training as police officers.
The next steps for the bill to pass will go through local government committees then to the NC Senate. From there, it will go to Gov. Roy Cooper to sign it into law.
“It’s just about getting the department and empowering the department to use its resources the way it sees fit,” said Farkas.
If signed by the governor, the program is expected to start at the end of the summer or the beginning of the fall. Money for the unit will be coming from the state’s general funds.