DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) - The Dubuque Police Department has asked the City Council for $30,000 to hire an independent research firm to analyze racial disparities in traffic stops that officers conduct.
Telegraph Herald (https://bit.ly/21dyGAk ) reports that City Council members considered the request during a public budget hearing Monday.
Internal department reviews show that minority drivers are stopped at disproportionately higher rates than white people.
The department randomly selects department traffic stops and arrests to check for bias, civil rights abuses and misconduct by interviewing officers, checking reports and reviewing camera footage. The results are shared with the Dubuque Community-Police Relations Committee and the Dubuque branch of the NAACP when requested.
Dubuque Police Chief Mark Dalsing says he hopes an outside audit will shed more light on the issue.
“There’s always going to be a concern that ‘Chief Dalsing’s only giving us what he wants us to hear,’” Dalsing said. “The fact you’re bringing an outside professional group to look at it gives it a lot more validity.”
Anthony Allen, president of the Dubuque branch of the NAACP, approved of the request.
“There are some minority individuals in the community, especially among the youth, that feel they are being harassed by police,” he said. “I think the heightened national attention allows us to take a needed look locally at police interactions with minority groups and see if there’s validity to those perceptions.”
But not all city council members believe that the move is a good investment.
Council Member Luis Del Toro said he worries that the study will unfairly place race at the forefront of an ongoing debate about public safety and that it will unnecessarily feed racial tensions.
Information from: Telegraph Herald, https://www.thonline.com
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