A full house applauded last night as Cobb County commissioners unanimously approved hiring the International Association of Chiefs of Police to investigate the county’s police department. IACP won the contract after placing a bid earlier this year.
The investigation comes after several incidents in the past two years which have led to strained relations between the department and the community. County Commissioner Lisa Cupid has accused an officer of following her in an unmarked car and racially profiling her. That same officer’s own dashboard video camera showed an exchange between him and an African-American driver in which the white officer said, “I don’t care about your people.”
Sally Riddle, the operations officer for Citizens of Public Safety, a nonprofit that focuses on connecting the community and officers, said members of the organization had been pushing to pass this measure since last October.
“We’re hoping that there’ll be, again, improved relationships between our citizens and the Cobb County police,” she said. “Particularly in our … color and low-income communities that tend to have a much more negative perception of the police and more negative interactions.”
Riddle also told the board she hopes IACP will look at alternative methods of approaching the community. She says some residents won’t talk to police because they mistrust officers.
Cobb’s head of public safety, Sam Heaton, said the department started collecting data for the inspection about a month ago.
The investigation will take four to six months and cost $90,000.
(Miranda Hawkins, NPR)