Over the past several years, we have heard many stories of HOPE members or their loved ones who have experienced unnecessary stops by law enforcement because of the color of their skin. They are pulled over for no reason and are let go without an explanation, warning, citation, or arrest. Many shared about their fear of what could happen to them or a loved one if and when they get pulled over. This erodes trust and instills fear among community and law enforcement.
HOPE met several times with Dr. Jack McDevitt of Northeastern University who has worked with hundreds of law enforcement agencies to address systemic bias in policing. Dr. McDevitt works with law enforcement to create a specific stop data collection form to record all law enforcement interactions, not just those resulting in a warning, citation, or arrest. He then works with them to effectively analyze the data to identify any instances of bias in policing. This methodology of tracking, analyzing, and communicating with the community has successfully built trust between law enforcement and the community.
At our 2021 Nehemiah Action with over 2,000 present, we asked Criminal Justice Decision Makers to attend a Racial Profiling Summit with Dr. McDevitt. The summit is scheduled for May 4 and Sheriff Chronister, Tampa Police Chief Dugan, Plant City Police Chief Bradford, State Attorney Warren, Public Defender Holt, and Chief Judge Ficarrotta have confirmed their attendance.