Findings of study into Duluth Police practices released

Published: Mar. 30, 2022 at 10:49 PM CDT
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DULUTH, MN. (KBJR 6) -- Last year, the Duluth NAACP called on the Duluth Police Department to make changes.

The group wanted racial bias training for officers and more equitable policing.

The department obliged and had an outside group do a study on its practices.

The outside group, Police Strategies, LLC, examined data of victims and offenders reported to the DPD, as well as disparities in arrests and in uses of force by officers.

The group’s CEO Bob Scales said based on the analysis done, there is no evidence to suggest there are systemic practices of biased policing or racial profiling within DPD.

Scales said while there are disparities, individual cases and acts would need to be analyzed to determine if they stemmed from bias.

DPD Chief Mike Tusken said the department took the concerns of the NAACP seriously, which is why they sought out this analysis.

“We’ve learned a lot from this analysis, of course, we are always in an arch of continuous improvement,” Tusken said. “It’s important for us to take this report and make us a better police department. At the end of the day, we want to be able to serve our citizens to the greatest extent we can.”

The Duluth Citizen’s Review Board (CRB), which was formed to hold police and city leaders accountable, was at the presentation Wednesday night.

They talked about what they want from the report going forward.

“There needs to then be a follow-up meeting of this same type, where the citizens, after having the opportunity to review this obviously very in-depth, long report, can then come back to the department and then perhaps go through this in more depth,” said Blair Powless, a member of the CRB.

The report includes some key recommendations for the DPD.

They include tracking demographic data for all officer-initiated contacts, consent searches, and officer safety searches.

they also suggest developing a community survey instrument...and requiring police officers to hand out business cards identifying themselves.

The Demographic Disparity Report is now available on the DPD’s website.

You can find a link to it here.

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