Two bills addressing criminal justice reform are sitting in a North Carolina Senate committee after being unanimously passed by the N.C. House in early May.
House Bill 436, entitled "Support Law Enforcement Mental Health," would require potential law enforcement officers to undergo psychological screenings prior to certification or employment.
The bill would also require officers to participate in two-hour trainings on effective mental health and wellness strategies every three years.
Rep. Verla Insko (D-Orange) co-sponsored House Bill 436 and said the bill would provide officers with additional training on mitigation techniques and discern their mental fitness.
“They need to be able to evaluate a situation and have training on how to de-escalate and how to play social worker," Insko said.
Insko said she believes the training is especially important when officers are called to deal with mentally unstable individuals because she is continuing to see poor-decision making based on these situations.
The second criminal justice reform bill, House Bill 536, would obligate law enforcement officers to intervene in and report situations of excessive force within three days.
Rep. Ricky Hurtado, (D-Alamance) co-sponsored both bills and said House Bill 536 would provide officers with a lawful duty to interfere in instances of extreme force.
He said this bill would prevent situations like the death of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis police last May from ever being possible.