NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. — (WCBD) – The U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office) today announced the launch of an independent and comprehensive review of the North Charleston Police Department. This review will be conducted through the COPS Office’s Collaborative Reform initiative.
The review is in response to requests made by city officials and the police department asking that the COPS Office provide technical assistance on managing critical incidents, enhancing their community policing strategy and increasing their community engagement efforts.
The COPS Office will work with the North Charleston Police Department to develop a report that specifically identifies ways to improve the understanding and trust between local law enforcement and the community at-large and other issues that may surface during the assessment phase.
“After consultation with our counterparts in the Department of Justice, we determined that North Charleston was an appropriate candidate for the collaborative reform process,” said Chief Noble Wray. “Being open to an independent and objective assessment, no matter the results, shows a level of leadership and commitment that we seek from our partners in collaborative reform. The leaders of North Charleston have shown that commitment.”
Chief Noble Wray of the COPS Office’s Policing Practices and Accountability Initiative and U.S. Attorney for the District of South Carolina Bill Nettles, were joined by the mayor and police chief of North Charleston to announce the launch of the collaborative reform process.
U.S. Attorney Bill Nettles stated that “key here is that North Charleston is opening its department to review, and that the people of North Charleston have the opportunity to participate in this review process through community forums and interviews.
At the end of the review, we will have a record that the City can use in addressing its policies and practices. This kind of process – combining policing expertise with citizen input – is critical in the 21st Century.”
The Collaborative Reform Initiative for Technical Assistance is an independent and objective way to transform a law enforcement agency through an analysis of policies, practices, training, tactics and accountability methods around key issues facing law enforcement today.
The initiative is designed to provide technical assistance to agencies facing significant law enforcement-related issues. Using subject matter experts, interviews and direct observations, as well as conducting extensive research and analysis, the COPS Office assists law enforcement agencies in enhancing and improving their policies and procedures, operating systems and professional culture.
Following the assessment, the Justice Department will issue a public report detailing the findings of the assessment, along with specific recommendations for improvement.
The COPS Office will assess progress made in implementing those recommendations over an 18-month period following the initial assessment.
Two progress reports will be released tracking implementation of those recommendations. North Charleston is the 11th city to enter into the collaborative reform process.
The COPS Office, headed by Director Ronald Davis, is a federal agency responsible for advancing community policing nationwide.
Since 1995, the COPS Office has invested more than $14 billion to advance community policing, including grants awarded to more than 13,000 state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies to fund the hiring and redeployment of more than 127,000 officers and provide a variety of knowledge resource products including publications, training and technical assistance. For additional information about the COPS Office, please visit www.cops.usdoj.gov.
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