Public invited to comment on N. Charleston police racial bias audit

VIDEO: Public invited to comment on N. Charleston police racial bias audit

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The North Charleston community will have the opportunity to participate in a discussion to help in the assessment of racial bias for the North Charleston Police Department.

The audit is being conducted by CNA, a non-profit research group who also preformed the racial audit of the City of Charleston’s police department.

CNA Senior Research Scientist Zoe Thorkildsen says the group wants to hear citizen’s concerns about the police department during two sessions Tuesday and Wednesday evening.

“The main goal is definitely to understand the community’s perceptions of the North Charleston Police Department, as well as what they view as the most important roles and responsibilities of the police department,” Thorkildsen said. “And also give them an opportunity to provide specific feedback and recommendations about how they would like to see the PD operate or change so that we can incorporate those into our analysis.”

The CNA team says some of the areas they will research include general data and demographics relating to North Charleston crime statistics.

They’ll assess the impact of law enforcement on historically marginalized and discriminated against populations. CNA says this is particularly the African American and Hispanic communities.

North Charleston Police Chief Reggie Burgess wants to make it clear that the police department is not running these public listening sessions and he wants people to feel comfortable sharing their thoughts.

“Whatever we can do to be better at what we’re doing, we’re going to fully accept it and put it into place, innovate that thing, and then put it out there so our citizens, they’ll know that we really are the service that we want to be for them,” Chief Burgess said.

Thorkildsen says they expect to have the preliminary report for public comment in the next month or two. At that time, they’ll ask the public to provide additional input on anything they think they missed.

The final report is expected to be provided by June or July and new practices and policies will be shared with the police department and community.

Those who can’t make a meeting, can email their concerns to CNA at JusticeCenter@cna.org.

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