CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Charleston City Council voted on Tuesday to fund an audit that will look for possible racial bias in the police department.
The vote means the city will pay about $158 thousand to the CAN Corporation, which will conduct a Racial Bias Audit.
“What I’m hoping that we get out of this is a closer relationship with our communities, that we further engage with our communities,” Charleston Police Chief Luther Reynolds said.
The Charleston Area Justice Ministry (CAJM) has strongly advocated for this study to happen for more than a year.
“We heard over and over again for years from all of our black friends, from the community of color, about their stories engaging law enforcement,” Charleston Area Justice Ministry Co-President Jeremey Rutledge said. “It was really disturbing.”
The study will look at the department and come back with a lot of data about possible racial bias among Charleston Police.
“And then we can figure out what we need to do to address this problem and make things better,” Rutledge said.
Reynolds said the department will make whatever changes it can once the study is done, but he’s hoping the audit will help build trust between police and the community.
“We’re showing ourselves as transparent. We’re showing ourselves as an organization that cares about our communities, that we’re professional and we’re interested in listening and getting even better,” Reynolds said.
Reynolds said the audit should start close to Jan. 1. He said the audit should take about six months, but he hopes the information they collect from the audit will make changes that will last for years.