The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department is postponing a partnership with the University of Chicago that would analyze data on police arrests and stops after police officials said they had concerns about safeguarding officer’s privacy.
The partnership is meant to help the department discover any profiling by officers, or any other signs of misconduct, and is part of a White House program called the Police Data Initiative.
The Charlotte City Council was scheduled to vote on the agreement Monday, but police chief Rodney Monroe asked that the item be delayed.
The city said in a memo that “in light of the feedback received regarding the release of personnel data, CMPD has requested that this item be pulled from the agenda until further notice.” The city said it will work with the university to “develop additional data encryption and safeguards during file transfers.”
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City Manager Ron Carlee said, “protecting the privacy of individual officers is essential to any effort in which we would participate – as would be the case for other city employees.”
Police conduct has been a priority recently for the city as the voluntary manslaughter trial of officer Randall Kerrick is set for July. In September 2013, Kerrick shot and killed an unarmed black motorist.
The City Council on Monday passed a civil rights resolution that outlined a number of guidelines for CMPD, including a ban on profiling; how to monitor protests and demonstrations; and a commitment to purge unneeded data accumulated during surveillance.
Most of the resolution was already part of existing CMPD policies and directives. But the city said the resolution was important to both the department and the community.
The department also has begun tracking profiling complaints for the first time. CMPD said it has received five profiling complaints since January.
Charlotte is one of 21 cities nationwide that have agreed to take part in the initiative. Atlanta and Columbia, S.C., are also part of the program.
The White House web site says the program would use data to “to increase transparency, build community trust, and support innovation.” It would also “identify problems, increase internal accountability, and decrease inappropriate uses of force.”