SUMMERVILLE, SC (WCSC) - A community meeting prompted the Summerville Police Department to release its traffic stop data. The meeting was a step to strengthen the relationship between police and the community.
The organizers commended the Summerville Police Department on their prompt response to their requests for the traffic stop data. Last month the Community Resource Center hosted a Town Hall with the Summerville Mayor and requested the data. Now a month later, the center along with other community organizations are working together to establish a relationship with police so when issues come up there's already a line of communication.
Captain Doug Wright from Summerville Police came out to address community concerns and present recent data about the number of warnings and citations the department has issued since January as it relates to race.
"Everything is above reproach," said Capt. Wright. "We're well within the guidelines and what not of the national average and what the demographics are of our population and we don't see any type of issues."
He reported the following data:
- There were a total of 1,326 warnings given. Out of that number about 60 percent of people were white/non-Hispanic, 34 percent were black and other races made up 6 percent.
- There were a total of 3,016 citations. Out of that number about 62 percent were white/non-Hispanic, 32 percent were black and other races made up 6 percent.
Director of the Community Resource Center Louis Smith says the Summerville Police Department has been transparent.
"They're willing to talk with us about it, not only talk with us, but to talk with the whole community," Director of the Community Resource Center, Louis Smith said.
Though many at the meeting agree that those numbers don't indicate racial profiling some have concerns about individual experiences they've had with police.
This meeting is one step in letting law enforcement hear their concerns. They expect to have more in the future.
Dr. DaNine Fleming is the Co-Founder of, "It Takes A Village." It's an organization to bring together the community and address issues including gun violence. It's also a support system for the youth. She says it's important to be proactive and not only reactive.
"Really wanting to be a part of the village and having the conversation with law enforcement as well as with the community versus speaking at or when something happens," Dr. Fleming said.
There were several other topics addressed including how to get the officers more involved with the youth, police presence in neighborhoods and the use of body cameras.
Just one of the important messages the officer gave to the community is that if anyone has any issues with law enforcement, report it. When there's a record of what happened, police can look into the issue.