North Charleston creates committee to look at police department

VIDEO: North Charleston creates committee to look at police department

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - After days of protests in response to police actions, North Charleston is taking a look at their own department.

Recently, the city created a five person committee to take a closer look at how their police department operates.

City officials said the idea of the committee came about last year after the police department completed a program with the Department of Justice.

“After completing the North Charleston Police Department’s Training and Technical Assistance with the Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services and the Police Foundation in January 2019, Chief Burgess began considering a holistic review of the police department and has been in communication with the independent Police Foundation ever since,” city officials said in a statement.

According to the city, Mayor Keith Summey will name a five-person city council member committee to examine the police culture and community analysis from 2019 to better understand the internal and the community perception and practices of the police department.

“If additional steps are considered beneficial by Chief Burgess and the committee, a review organization will be further explored,” city officials said.

North Charleston city council members Mike Brown and Jerome Heyward will be part of the committee.

They say they’re excited about the committee, and add that this has been a discussion long before the protests.

"We decided that this was an excellent idea. It gives us a chance to review the companies that could possibly do the audit," Heyward said. "It gives us a chance to sit down and have dialogue about the audit."

Brown says, at this point, council members agree an audit must be conducted.

“An audit can only make us better," Brown said."It’s almost like going to the doctor and getting a check up. Even if we feel well, sometimes going to get that physical done or that blood work done can really show you things that you wouldn’t be able to see externally, so an audit kind of goes internally. It shows us the things we need worked on.”

Brown is also hoping for a community review board in the future. He says there would need to be members of the community that have background on law enforcement or an understanding in the law, as part of this board.

The council members are waiting for North Charleston Police Chief Reggie Burgess to finish his 14-day quarantine, before meeting.

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