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Ending racial profiling in Kalamazoo is still a work in progress

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KALAMAZOO (WKZO) -- Efforts are underway to end or at least greatly reduce racial profiling by Kalamazoo Public Safety Officers.

A study by Lamberth and Associates revealed that minority drivers were more than twice as likely to be pulled over and also more likely to have their vehicle searched in the City of Kalamazoo.

Last evening, Chief Jeff Hadley gave commissioners an overview of the training programs they are undertaking to improve fair and impartial policing, police legitimacy and communications.

Most City Commissioners praised the Chief’s efforts to end profiling, conceding that it’s still a work in progress. 

He was also pressed to continue improving minority hiring and promotions, and also pressed to hire from within the city, if at all possible.

Commissioner Stephanie Moore also urged him to put a priority on reconstituting the Citizens Appeal Board which was created a few years ago but hasn’t had much to do in recent years.

Mayor Bobby Hopewell says the Chief has more elaborate plans than he was able to present in his short presentation and what impresses him is the fact that his plans have built in ways of measuring outcomes and results.    

 Hopewell says he is also happy to see that Chief Hadley isn't just pursuing easy solutions but consulting with some of the foremost experts in the country seeking best practices and training methods to address the racial profiling issue.  

Chief Hadley says all this will take time to achieve.  He says policy changes are easy but cultural changes take time and practice.  

He is hoping they will be ready in a year or two to have Lamberth and Associates come back and repeat their study to accurately gauge if there have been improvements. 

Commissioner Moore says it may take the miniority community much longer to overcome the effects of decades of racial profiling.

 

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