Racial bias audit for Duluth Police Department

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On Monday, Interim Police Chief Laura Marquardt gave a presentation on racial bias audit for the Duluth City Council.

Racial bias audits, assess and monitor current operations, policies, procedures, and practices for implicit and/or systemic racial bias. The racial bias audit can provide recommended reforms that eliminate racial and implicit bias within the Duluth Police Department.

BIPOC (Black Indigenous People of Color) community organizers created a petition two years ago to conduct a racial bias audit. The petition received over three thousand signatures.

The Crime and Justice Institute, a division of Community Resources for Justice, will be conducting the racial bias audit. The institute evaluates race, gender, sexuality and more in their audits.

Jamey Sharp, a member of LEAN, Law Enforcement Accountability Network talked about how the DPD need more reforms.

“But [the racial bias audit] doesn’t tell us why. It makes it a little bit harder to directly lead to conclusions on how to change things so that we improve those numbers.” Sharp said. “No matter what solutions they recommend, no matter what they find, I think that if we don’t see these numbers start to go down, if we don’t see things starts becoming more equitable, I think it will be perceived as a failure.”

Sharp said racial bias audits do provide meaningful data, except new policies and practices eliminate implicit bias.

“I think that it would be unwise for us to sit and wait until this is totally finished before we actually make changes. And there are plenty of changes that can be made in town that have been done nationwide to address disparities that aren’t being done yet.” Sharp said.

WDIO did reach out to the DPD, except they declined to comment about the evaluation.

Duluth City Council did state that the audit would not exceed $273,000.