Perception of NCPD is hot button issue in mayor's race

Perception of NCPD is hot button issue in mayor's race

NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The perception of the North Charleston Police Department is becoming a hot button issue in the race for mayor.

After Walter Scott was shot and killed by former officer Michael Slager, there was an outcry in the community.

Some civil rights groups accused the police department of racial profiling with some trigger happy cops.

Two months before the election, Mayor Keith Summey is defending his police chief.

"I think Chief Driggers is doing an outstanding job under the circumstances that we've seen since April," Summey said.

Summey's challengers say changes are needed in the police department along with a change in attitude.

"My own father, he's 88 years old and he's afraid to be stopped by the North Charleston Police Department," candidate rev. Chris Collins said. "When he tells me he's concerned, I'm concerned as well."

"We start revamping the police department. We have to do psychological testing. We have to have a training system that allows police to know that their job is to protect and serve, not to use the citizens as prey," mayoral candidate John Singletary said.

Candidate Clifford Smith says the police department needs to be more transparent.

Smith wants to see more officers spending more time in the neighborhoods they patrol.

"I want to maybe even go as far to offer policemen the opportunity to live in the community they serve. keep the same police to get some respect between the citizens to the police department," Smith said.

Collins also believes better training can win back the trust of citizens.

"Our police department in my opinion needs to be retrained, re-vetted, find out who really wants to do police work and who's just happy to take a gun and a badge."

Summey says since the Scott shooting his officers have been even more involved in the community, especially with young people.

The mayoral and city council election will be held Nov 3.

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