Charleston Police Department announces Racial Bias Audit on final step

The City of Charleston Police Advisory Council gathered Thursday to discuss the progress of the 2019 Racial Bias Audit.
Published: Apr. 6, 2023 at 11:10 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 7, 2023 at 4:15 AM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The City of Charleston Police Advisory Council gathered Thursday to discuss the progress of the 2019 Racial Bias Audit.

Leaders with the Charleston Police Department announced they’ve completed 70 of the 71 recommendations that came from the audit.

They say their next and final step is getting a progress assessment on the work they’ve been doing from a third party.

The director who oversees the racial bias audit, Jill Eidson, said the contract to do this assessment has been signed, and work has begun

She acknowledged that getting to this final step took longer than some expected it would.

“Whenever you enact large-scale change within an organization, specifically related to data and training, it does take longer than we would like sometimes,” Eidson said.

In 2019, the Charleston Police Department contracted a company to do a racial bias audit on the department.

Seventy-one recommendations came out of the audit falling under five categories-- community policing, complaints, personal practices, traffic and use of force.

Eidson provided details Thursday about the final step of the audit-- a third party review.

“They’re in progress evaluation of the audit, which is basically an assessment of how well the department enacted those recommendations,” Eidson said.

Last month the City of Charleston approved a research agreement between the University of South Carolina and the Charleston Police Department for around $72,00 to conduct this third-party review, which should take 12-15 weeks.

Eidson said University of South Carolina researchers are currently gathering research and data from the community and Charleston Police Department employees.

The next step will be community engagement. They say they are currently working on developing a survey to send out to community members.

As a result of some of the feedback so far, Eidson said researchers have suggested hiring a community engagement consultant to help with communication with the public.

Which, the Chairman of the Citizens Police Advisory Council, Paul Tamburrino, said is probably a good idea.

“Everybody seems to be all the sudden turning to us saying ‘what’s going on with the audit, what’s going on with the audit,” Tamburrino said. “The department has public affairs officers and stuff like that so I don’t know if we necessarily need to wait until you formally hire someone you’ve got people in the city that should be doing that now.”

Eidson said the department will be giving a presentation to the public on disparity data hopefully at the end of the month.