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Wake County Adopts Community Action ID

En español

In our work with cities and towns to expand civic engagement and leadership opportunities with immigrants, we often hear from community members about the need to build trust and create better communication networks with law enforcement agencies and first responders. There is significant evidence demonstrating that community-oriented policing focusing on relationship building, partnerships, and language access can prevent crime and enhance neighborhood safety. Today, our blog highlights the Community ID program, an important initiative that is making strides to accomplish these goals.

The Community ID program, founded by the Greensboro-based nonprofit Faith Action International House in 2014, is an initiative built on problem-solving and partnership with immigrant communities. A Community Action ID provides community members with a reliable identification for law enforcement, health centers, and social service agencies, among other locations. This ID is not valid for voting or using as a driver’s license. The Community Action ID program emphasizes the need to build trust between local law enforcement and community members. As a requirement of the program, participating police and sheriff’s departments attend the Community Action ID drives and orientations to build connections and trust with local residents. The support and partnership of the local organizations and faith ministries are crucial in connecting with residents.

Leaders from El Centro Hispano and police officers stand together
El Centro Hispano and law enforcement agencies in Orange County, Carrboro and Chapel Hill have participated in these initiatives to build trust. Photo credit: the Town of Chapel Hill

Building Integrated Communities partners in places like Siler City, among others, have recommended the adoption of the Community ID program as a key action for improving the safety and well-being of local residents. They join an increasing number of municipalities in the southeast embracing opportunities to expand the mobility of local residents. Most recently, on February 23rd, 2022, the Wake County Sheriff’s Department and the Raleigh Police Department agreed to participate in the program. The Community Action ID program in Wake County is driven by the non-profit organization El Pueblo, Inc. with support and guidance from Faith Action International House.

In addition to paying $10 for the card, participants must:

  • Attend a mandatory orientation that explains the benefits and limitations of the card.
  • Provide proof of identification (passport, embassy ID, driver’s license, or national ID card).
  • Provide proof of current address (utility bill, bank statement, health record, and lease agreement).
  • Since its founding, the FaithAction ID network partners have provided over 30,000 ID cards to individuals across the country, primarily in North Carolina and South Carolina. Wake County is the county with the largest population and the Community Action ID program could reach many individuals in the area. Raleigh joins Asheboro, Boone, Burlington, Carrboro, Chapel Hill, Greensboro, High Point, Hillsborough, Mebane, and Winston Salem police departments in the adoption of the program. Orange, Mecklenburg, and Forsyth County Sheriff’s Offices have also adopted the program. To see an ID drive in action, check out the video below of a 2016 event in Asheboro.

    To read about other strategies to strengthen police-community relationships, check out the most recent Sanford Equity Task Force recommendations, which highlight the need for pay incentives for bilingual police officers, the elimination of traffic court debt, a reduction in the use of money bail, and a halt to incarceration for failure to pay fines and fees. Additional resources include:

  • North Carolina Justice Center
  • City of Raleigh Equity Plan
  • NC Task Force for Racial Equity in Criminal Justice
  • NC Fair Chance
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