RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — A bill has been filed in the house authorizing cities to employ civilian traffic crash investigators.
HB 140 allows cities to authorize law enforcement agencies to hire civilian personnel to investigate crashes.
Under the bill, the civilian traffic investigators would only investigate property damage.
Representative Jon Hardister of Gilford County is a co-sponsor of the bill.
He says civilian traffic crash investigators would have to attend a training program with the North Carolina Justice Academy.
They won’t carry a weapon, and they are not allowed to make any arrests.
They also have to wear a specific uniform that shows that they are a civilian traffic investigator.
“What these investigators would do is they simply would take pictures; they would get sworn testimony from witnesses. They would submit that into the police report. They won’t write citations because they’re not a sworn law enforcement officer,” said Representative Hardister.
This isn’t the first time that civilian traffic investigators have been brought up in the General Assembly.
A bill was filed last year in the senate but didn’t pass.
Some state leaders believe it will help free up agencies to handle more serious crimes, especially as many agencies deal with shortages.
“It actually could free up resources for law enforcement to do that, and hopefully they can recruit more sworn officers because that’s where there is definitely a need… and hopefully this will help accomplish that goal,” said Representative Hardister.
There is currently a similar bill in the Senate that was filed last month.
Cities like Raleigh and Durham have also looked into their own civilian crash investigators as well.