Fayetteville council hears report on searches

March 12, 2012 8:25:27 PM PDT
Fayetteville city council members received a much anticipated report on the police department Monday evening. It happened on the same day both sides agreed in court to rescind the moratorium on police searches.

The report didn't say definitively that the Fayetteville Police Department had been intentionally racially profiling African-American drivers.

The consultants that put together the report said the police department's data was incomplete, and sometimes so inaccurate, that it may have skewed its original numbers.

The city paid the consultant team $30,000 for that answer.

After weeks of reviewing police department statistics and interviewing scores of community leaders, the consultants found the police department's biggest problem with traffic stops and search procedures were sloppy record keeping and bad communications between the police and the community.

The consultants said the police department's numbers showed a disproportionate number of black drivers were stopped and searched but when it comes down to the issue of racially profiling, the best they could answer was maybe.

The consultants did give council members 24 recommendations that included improving the department's record keeping system, having better communications with the community, and establishing a review committee for citizen's complaints.

"We have to go forward as a community and work through this," said Mayor Tony Chavonne. "It's a place to start and that's what we were desperately seeking having this third part look at it."

"What I've heard tonight is what I've been asking for the whole time," said Jimmy Braxton, with the NAACP. "This has been a good report. "

"We want what is best for our community," said community activist Troy Williams. "Nobody wants a community with crime and we're about moving us forward, making our community safer. We want a trust factor between the community and police. It's like when Neil Armstrong stepped on the moon, he said 'this is a giant step.' And this is a huge step for Fayetteville."

The consultants said the department has been actively working on its procedures. They also said, when compared to national guidelines, the Fayetteville Police Department was in compliance with all of their recommendations, policies and procedures.

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