Duluth Police Respond To NAACP Racial Bias Claims
The Duluth Police Department is responding to claims made by the Duluth Branch of the NAACP of "racially biased policing". As part of the response, the results of a third-party review have been shared with the public.
The third-party review was originated after accusations were delivered by the Duluth Branch of the NAACP at a public press conference on March 26, 2021. At the press conference, the NAACP charged that "the Duluth Police Department has been engaged in years of racially biased policing against black, indigenous, and people of color".
Following the charges, the Duluth Police Department sought a review to "better understand our data to help [them] improve...services to [the] community". The move was implemented according to officials because "[t]he Duluth Police Department understood the NAACP's claims to be serious".
Following research, review, and vetting, the department contracted with Police Strategies LLC to perform the review. That review has now wrapped up and the department has shared the results.
In a release statement, the department shared the summarized the results from the 172-page Demographic Disparity Analysis:
"The analysis...found no disparities similar to other cities in the United States and 'found no evidence to suggest systemic practices of biased policing or racial profiling occurring within the Duluth Police Department."
As a means of distributing the result details and provide commentary, the Duluth Police Department issued a statement and took to various forms of media - including social media - to communicate.
Statements from the Duluth Police reflect the departments commitment "to continuous improvement....working with [the] community to make Duluth safe for all".
Duluth Police Chief Mike Tusken offered a lengthy and detailed response as part of that communication:
"The Duluth Police Department has dedicated and caring professional police officers who we hire for their character, are guided by best practice policy, led by ethical leaders, and dedicated to continuous improvement in our training to show up in professional, respectful, and just manner. Biased policing of any kind has no quarter here. We have the courage to confront attitudes and behaviors that do not uphold our mission and social contract. Disparities are not a statistic on a spreadsheet to us, it is someone's life and we must all do everything we can, and more, to build an equitable community. That said, disparities do not unilaterally equate to bias by Duluth Police Department. Duluth Police Department and the community benefitted from this study and as we previously stated, this is a starting point for continuing conversations with our community to address the drivers of disparities in Duluth."
You can read the full statement - the response to the charged levied at the department by the Duluth Branch of the NAACP on the Duluth Police Department's website.