Graham’s police department is at the center of another racial controversy, this one involving the recent hiring of a former Greensboro police officer who was fired by that department last year.
According to the Graham police department, Douglas A. Strader, 46, was hired by the department on March 1.
Strader was involved in two controversial incidents in Greensboro during his 16-year tenure. He was a corporal at the time of his dismissal on September 22, 2020.
Strader, as a 16-year veteran in Greensboro, was a corporal at the time of his firing on September 22, 2020; he was making $61,126, according to documents made available by the Greensboro Police Department in response to the newspaper’s public records request.
On March 1, 2021, he was hired by Graham’s police department at a salary of almost $18,000 less than he had earned in Greensboro – $43,410.63, based on information provided by the city in response to a public records request from The Alamance News; he is a police officer I in Graham.
In an initial statement, the Graham’s police department said it “exceeds and complies with all guidelines set forth by the NC Criminal Justice Education and Training Standards Commission” which requires background checks on all applicants seeking law enforcement certification.
The Department also said it had conducted a thorough background check into Strader’s character and suitability to be a law enforcement officer. However, the department also said it was limited by what it could publicly disclose by North Carolina state personnel laws. “Many of the details and results surrounding hiring decisions are protected by North Carolina personnel law and cannot be divulged pursuant to [state law].”
For her part, Graham police chief Kristy Cole told The Alamance News that she wanted to provide more information in support of her decision to hire Strader. She termed him as an “officer trainee,” a description, she said, that would apply to any new hire by the department.
“Field training” is involved, she said, for all new Graham officers, no matter how experienced they may be from another law enforcement department.
She said that, typically, the training is 14 weeks or longer for a new recruit, more likely 6 to 8 weeks for a “lateral” transfer into the department, although it could range up to 14 weeks or beyond, she said.
She stressed that Strader has all the relevant law enforcement credentials required to be a police officer in North Carolina.
Another police source told the newspaper that there is a difference between an individual officer’s employment and having one’s credentials. “Employment is not the same as certification,” this source told the newspaper.
This distinction seemed to be emphasized by chief Cole and statements issued by the department over the weekend and again Wednesday afternoon.
She and statements put out by the police department emphasized that the city had, in fact, gone through all the proper procedures and clearances to ensure that everything about Strader’s background – she seemed to imply including the two incidents in Greensboro – were reviewed before a job offer was extended.
Other aspects of this week’s coverage of officer Douglas Strader’s hiring and two controversies he was involved in while serving in Greensboro Police Department:
Graham police chief says she will assess officer by his performance, not criticism or protests: https://alamancenews.com/police-chief-says-keeping-strader-will-be-based-on-his-performance/
Statement from the Graham Police Department on hiring Douglas Strader: https://alamancenews.com/statement-from-graham-police-dept-on-hiring-of-douglas-a-strader-formerly-with-greensboro-police-dept/
Strader fired one year about shooting at fleeing vehicle; city manager denies his appeal of the firing: https://alamancenews.com/straders-decision-to-shoot-at-fleeing-vehicle-gets-him-fired/
Strader was present in Greensboro during the encounter with Marcus Smith and his subsequent death, but officers not held responsible: https://alamancenews.com/death-of-marcus-smith-in-greensboro-police-custody-tragic-but-officers-not-implicated/
See Greensboro Police Department body-cam video from the tragic encounter with Marcus Smith: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P55gefPZDVM