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The Charleston Police Department (CPD) is increasingly becoming an active community partner in conversations and efforts to address the city’s past and present challenges surrounding race. Efforts to strengthen police-community relationships have been at the forefront of the city’s priorities. In January 2019, Charleston selected CNA to conduct a racial bias audit of the CPD.


  • Assess, monitor, and assist the CPD, in concert with the community, in uncovering any aspects of implicit bias or systemic and individual racial bias.
  • Assess the effect of enforcement operations on historically marginalized and discriminated-against populations, particularly those in the African-American community.
  • Provide recommendations for reforms that improve community-oriented policing practices, transparency, professionalism, accountability, community inclusion, fairness, effectiveness, and public trust, taking into
  • Engage the community to understand their experiences and their expectations of interactions with CPD.


The audit team based its approach to the racial bias audit on a number of guiding principles: (1) providing evidence-based assistance with an emphasis on research, including both academic research and documented lessons learned and best practices from the field; (2) using a multimethod assessment design, including interviews, community meetings, document review and data analysis; and (3) conducting a comprehensive review and applying best practices in police settings.


  1.  Traffic stops and field contacts
  2.  Use of force, deadly and non-deadly
  3.  The complaint process, internal and external
  4. Community-oriented policing practices
  5. Recruitment, hiring, promotions, and personnel practices
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  • Publication Date: 12/1/2019