CNA, the research firm conducting a racial bias audit of the Charleston Police Department, will hold four public meetings to gain insight from local residents this month.
The meetings will be held at locations throughout the city from March 26 to 29.
The Virginia-based company was hired in December to help the police department “uncover any aspects of implicit bias, as well as systemic and individual racial bias,” according to a scope of work issued by the city last year.
CNA’s $158,556 year-long contract cost the City of Charleston “a fair price for what we’re asking them to do,” according Gary Cooper, the city’s procurement director.
[content-1] The firm visited Charleston for the first time in early February. During that visit, they announced the start of the audit at a press conference and interviewed 11 police department employees and four city officials and community members, according to a press release last month.
“The site visit was productive, resulting in a number of preliminary observations that the CNA team will explore further as they continue to conduct research and analysis and draft their final report,” the firm announced.
[content-2] CNA says they plan to further examine the department’s use-of-force incident data, body camera policy, and the community outreach strategy for youth and underrepresented communities, as well as the public’s lack of trust in the complaint process.
They also committed to continue working with the Charleston Area Justice Ministry, the interfaith social justice advocacy group that lobbied Charleston City Council to vote in favor of the independent racial bias audit in 2017. CAJM also drafted the scope of work document that was used to hire CNA.
The firm says they will examine the police department’s policies and procedures in five different areas: use of force, traffic stops and field contacts, internal/external complaints, recruitment and hiring, and community engagement.
The times and locations for this month’s community meetings are listed in the flier below.