Report: How Charleston Police applied recommendations from Racial Bias Audit
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - A third-party progress assessment on how well the Charleston Police Department implemented the recommendations of the 2019 Racial Bias Audit was released Tuesday.
The third-party assessment, done by Khale Strategic Insights was presented at Tuesday’s Public Safety Committee meeting and showed that the department can clearly document implementing 80.59% of the recommendations, with 16.41% evaluated as being currently in progress.
One of the members of the third-party review team, Dr. Robert Kahle said key findings of the review show that the department has improved data collection “dramatically” since 2019, and made community policing a central part of their operations.
However, the Racial Disparity Analysis showed that the department still has some work to do.
Dr. Kyle McLean, another member of the third-party review team said their analysis showed black drivers are stopped and warned at a higher rate than they would expect, given their proportion of the population.
He said when stops are conducted for speeding violations and alcohol violations, disparities are minimal. However, stops for other, non-moving violations generate higher disparities.
Black drivers also appear to be searched at disproportionate rates compared to white drivers, he said. For example, when a white driver is searched for probable cause, contraband is found roughly 70% of the time, but when a black driver is searched for probable cause, contraband is found roughly 53% of the time.
“This is a pretty sizable disparity that indicates that African Americans are more likely to be searched at the end of traffic stop on the basis of probable cause,” McLead said.
At the same time the third-party assessment was being done, an online community survey gauged citizens’ perspectives on the department’s performance and public interaction since the audit.
You can find that full report here.
Charleston Police Chief, Chito Walker said in a statement,
“On behalf of the Charleston Police Department, I’d like to thank each of the outside assessors for their diligent work on this important project. While the ERA report clearly demonstrates the remarkable progress made so far, we remain committed to continuing to implement the audit’s recommendations and identify additional opportunities for growth and improvement. As always, I am immensely proud of our officers and professional staff for their dedication and hard work, and I’d like to emphasize their commitment to evolving the CPD into an evidence-based agency constantly striving for best practices in policing. The results of the ERA and community survey are not just a testament to our department’s devotion to excellence and improvement, but also highlight our collective efforts to effectively meet the needs of our community.”
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