Public Safety

The Wake County Board of Commissioners identified four goals in the Public Safety key focus area. Select a goal from the list below to learn more about the rationale, objectives, links to comprehensive plans or resources, community indicators and performance measures, and key strategic actions.

PS 1: Address equity in the criminal justice system.

Rationale

Wake County believes that criminal justice institutions must ensure racial and ethnic equity and operate accordingly. While the County acknowledges existing justice system disparities, it seeks to seize this moment to bring people together and facilitate conversations to improve criminal justice policies and practices. Wake County envisions a safe and just approach, where all residents feel equally served and protected in a way that builds a civil society for the entire community.

Objectives:

  • Implement equitable criminal justice policies and practices
  • Eliminate disparities in criminal justice policies and practices
  • Increase trust between the community and criminal justice officers
  • Support the Wake County Juvenile Crime Prevention Council

Key Resources:

Example Indicators and Performance Measures:

  • Workforce diversity in law enforcement agencies
  • Percent of youth involved in the juvenile justice system
  • Juvenile relative rate index (racial comparison of juvenile crimes)

Key Strategic Actions:

  • PS 1.1: Develop and implement an action plan to address criminal justice system disparities referenced in the "A Better Wake" report.
  • PS 1.2: Deploy the right people with proper training.
    • Workplan will include crisis intervention (CIT) training support and the completion of the firearms simulations center.
  • PS 1.3: Assist crime victims and their families by connecting them to services and resources.

     

PS 2: Support justice-involved residents rejoining the community through diversion, detention-based programs, and re-entry to improve health and well-being.

Rationale

Building a safe and just community involves reintegrating the county's justice-involved residents and ensuring they have what they need to succeed. The County seeks to preserve the dignity of individuals who have served their time while implementing and maintaining systems to help them return to a productive, healthy, and law-abiding life. These efforts involve a three-prong approach: 1) support to prevent people from being arrested and addressing issues before they escalate to law enforcement involvement; 2) rehabilitation programs within the jail; and 3) transition resources as individuals are released back into the community after serving their time.

Objectives:

  • Encourage and support effective prevention strategies that reduce criminal behavior.
  • Balance community safety, concern for victims, and the rights and needs of individuals facing criminal charges.
  • Increase substance use and behavioral treatment options.
  • Increase access to education programs.
  • Improve the successful reintegration of justice-involved residents into the community.
  • Create opportunities for self-sufficiency.
  • Reduce criminal recidivism.
  • Improve conditions that positively impact an individual's health and well-being outcomes based upon social determinants of health. 

Example Indicators and Performance Measures:

  • Pretrial electronic monitoring compliance
  • Pretrial release program success rate
  • Detention center education cohort participants who completed a program
  • Detention center job training participants who earn credentialing
  • Number of people who find post-release employment within six months

Key Strategic Actions:

  • PS 2.1: Provide restorative discipline to assist students and youth involved in the justice system.

PS 3: Provide sustainable, high-quality public safety services to meet the community's current and future needs.

Rationale

During a crisis, public safety services – including law enforcement, EMS, and fire services – must respond in a timely and appropriate manner. Residents need to know that when they dial 911, a well-trained and well-equipped person will show up to help. Wake County is committed to efficiently protecting all community members based on best practices, prevention, continual improvement, and service consistency.

Objectives:

  • Enhance emergency preparedness and readiness
  • Identify and reduce potential hazards
  • Ensure timely and appropriate responses
  • Build and strengthen public safety agency partnerships
  • Encourage and support coordination and the efficient use of resources between public safety agencies
  • Support proper training and certification for public safety employees and volunteers.
  • Expand de-escalation skills and techniques

Example Indicators and Performance Measures:

  • Identified high-risk facilities/issues
  • Mandated one-year (high-risk) fire inspections
  • Average fire response time among fire tax district departments
  • Number of public safety employees and volunteers receiving training
  • Number of Wake EMS ESTAT occurrences and average duration per occurrence1

Key Strategic Actions:

  • PS 3.1: Develop an operating and financial plan to achieve and sustain agreed-upon County-wide service standards.
  • PS 3.2: Support the Local Emergency Planning Committee's work to improve communications and preparedness related to hazardous materials risks and potentially hazardous sites.

ESTAT is defined as having only 10 ambulances available in the county for emergency response.

PS 4: Ensure that first responders' diversity, health and well-being are integral parts of all public safety agencies.

Rationale

Public safety is only possible because of first responders' hard work and dedication. Wake County is committed to taking care of first responders and improving their physical and behavioral health. Improving access to and participation in health and wellness programs is essential to supporting first responders. In addition, Wake County also recognizes that government is strongest when it includes people from diverse walks of life that fully represent all constituents. To support representation in the County's public safety agencies, the County seeks to promote appropriate volunteerism in fire service, increase diversity in hiring first responders, and increase community involvement. 

Objectives:

  • Increase diversity within public safety agencies
  • Attract, support, and retain a diverse group of public safety volunteers
  • Ensure that all public agency employees and volunteers have access to high-quality medical and behavioral health services
  • Improve the overall physical health and well-being of public safety personnel and volunteers

Example Indicators and Performance Measures:

  • New hire diversity
  • Health and wellness assessments
  • Public safety agency employee and volunteer retention
  • Number of fire service volunteers

Key Strategic Actions:

  • PS 4.1: Connect and better support veterans in public safety careers