A preliminary report is giving the public a closer look at racial disparities in the North Charleston Police Department’s practices.
CNA, the third-party organization hired to conduct the Racial Bias Audit of the North Charleston Police Department (NCPD), released preliminary findings of the investigation Monday, giving the public a chance to provide input.
CNA reviewed “community engagement programming documents, strategic plans, training lesson plans, training curriculum, general orders, department data, and sentiments from interviews with community members and NCPD personnel and community listening sessions.”
The audit found that “racial disparities are present in many of NCPD’s interactions with the community, indicative of potential systemic, organizational, or individual bias, and these disparities are deeply felt by the community.”
The report also highlighted “substantial concerns regarding NCPD’s police presence and perceived over-enforcement of certain individuals, community groups, and neighborhoods,” as well as NCPD’s lack of “proper translation services and information for Spanish-speaking residents in the community.”
NCPD Chief Reggie Burgess has acknowledged the implicit bias in every individual. However, he said that NCPD is on the right track.
CNA agreed that NCPD is doing well in some areas, highlighting the agency’s “strong commitment to hiring and retaining personnel that reflect the ethnic, racial, and gender composition of the North Charleston community,” the “plan to specifically recruit women and people of color,” and the community’s “high confidence in Chief Burgess and his abilities to meaningfully engage with the community.”
After months of talking to the community and reviewing data, the group reported findings in six focus areas: law enforcement operations, community-oriented policing practices, complaints, recruitment/hiring/promotions, training, and oversight/ accountability.
Some of the key findings show racial disparities in the department’s interactions with the public, especially in Black and Hispanic populations.
The report details the concerns community members have about the department’s police presence and in some cases over-enforcement of certain people, groups, and neighborhoods.
It was also revealed that the department lacks proper translation services and information for people who speak Spanish.
The report also showed positive oversight and things the department is doing well.
The CNA project team said NCPD has a strong commitment to ‘hiring and retaining personnel that reflect the ethnic, racial, and gender composition of the North Charleston community.’ The department also has a plan in place to hire women and people of color.
Members of the community have also expressed high confidence in North Charleston Police Chief Reggie Burgess and his ability to engage with the public.
Chief Burgess addressed the findings in a video that was released on the city of North Charleston’s website.
“CNA’s assessment concludes that strengthening relationships will take time, however the community and the department are willing to work towards that common goal,” Burgess said. “We are progressing, involved, and cognizant. Public safety and fairness to all are our top priorities.”
CNA will hold community presentations and question and answer sessions on the following dates:
- Community Presentation #1 – July 21st from 12-2 pm EST at the Thomas Evans Community Center (7801 Dorchester Road)
- Community Presentation #2 – July 21st from 6-8 pm EST at the Midland Park Community Center (2429 Midland Park Road)
- Community Presentation #3 – July 22nd from 6-8 pm EST at the Perry Webb Community Center (3200 Appleton Ave.)
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