NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – On Tuesday and Wednesday night, members of the North Charleston community will have a chance to weigh in on the Racial Bias Audit of the North Charleston Police Department through two virtual meetings.
NCPD and the organization conducting the audit, CNA, are seeking input on the practices and procedures of the department as a part of the Racial Bias Audit.
The virtual meetings being held via Zoom will allow members from the community to confidentially share information, stories and concerns regarding department operations with CNA.
The effort comes six years after Walter Scott was killed at the hands of North Charleston Police Officer Michael Slager. Community activists say the memory of Scott shot by Slager in 2015 serves as a painful reminder of the work they say needs to be done to bridge the gab between the community and department.
NCPD Police Chief Reggie Burgess is hoping the virtual meetings and audit will provide an opportunity to build bridges with the community he works to protect daily.
“Yeah we make mistakes,” says Chief Burgess. “We’re not perfect, we’re not robots but we do our best everyday.”
The racial bias audit gives the North Charleston Police Department and community an opportunity to shed some light on the department’s operations and policing tactics. Chief Burgess says it’s important for community members to paint the full picture for a clearer understanding.
“This audit is going to help us as an agency to look at our policies and our procedures and practices and holistically look at how we are serving our citizens,” says Chief Burgess.
Leaders say it’s an effort to improve the overall standing of the department and relationship with the community it serves. Chief Burgess says he knows mistakes have been made in the past but he believes the good his department has done in the city will provide a path forward.
“When you are asked questions – answer the questions truthfully, honestly and you know tell the story,” says Chief Burgess.
CNA will lead the listening sessions and audit of the department nearly six years to the day after Scott’s death. CNA also conducted the Racial Bias of the City of Charleston Police Department. Pastor Thomas Dixon says he wishes city leaders would’ve listened to the calls for an audit in 2015 following Scott’s death rather than waiting years.
“Even though I’m happy to see the Racial Bias Audit being done now, it’s still a slap in the face to the community that it took six years to get to this point,” says Pastor Dixon.
A search for the truth whether it be good or bad, both Chief Burgess and Pastor Dixon say real change only happens if people are willing to participate in the action.
“The racial bias audit people and CNA, they need to hear the people’s voice,” says Pastor Dixon. “May the work that we do speak for us,” says Chief Burgess.
Any North Charleston residents looking to participate via Zoom can sign up here. Registration is required to provide comment. The sessions will take place Tuesday and Wednesday nights from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m..