Charleston to hire new firm to audit police department, a move interfaith group begged for

November 28, 2017. The Post and Courier.

The city of Charleston is heeding the call of the Charleston Area Justice Ministry to find a new firm to audit its police department.

The city hired Novak Consulting of Cincinnati earlier this year to audit multiple city departments to improve their performance, a scope of work that included a review of the police department. Members of the local interfaith group have argued repeatedly at City Council meetings that the firm doesn’t have enough experience identifying potentially racially-biased police practices.

On Tuesday, Charleston City Council approved a decision made by the Public Safety Committee to remove the police audit from Novak’s contract and begin searching for a new firm to do the job.

Charleston Public Safety Committee agrees to start over on police audit

November 27, 2017. Charleston City Paper.

Activists walked out of City Hall feeling vindicated on Monday morning after the Public Safety Committee voted unanimously to remove a police department audit from Novak Consulting’s task list.

Novak Consulting was hired in February to conduct a performance audit of all city operations, as reported in February. The city-wide audit was a key vow of Mayor John Tecklenburg’s campaign. But civil rights and social justice advocates have repeatedly painted the firm as too inexperienced to gauge the intricacies of racial bias.

Charleston Area Justice Ministry selects housing as its issue for 2018

November 13, 2017. The Post and Courier.

Members of the Charleston Area Justice Ministry voted Monday night to select housing as its community-wide issue to tackle next year.

Votes were cast during the interfaith Justice Ministry’s annual Community Problems Assembly at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in West Ashley. Fifty-nine percent of 576 members chose housing out of three categories that included health care and transportation.

Formed in 2011, the interfaith Justice Ministry is an alliance of 27 Charleston area congregations and organizations that identifies social justice problems and proposes solutions. The Justice Ministry confronts public officials about policy proposals at the annual Nehemiah Action Assembly. 

North Charleston moves forward with new DOJ agreement as activist groups demand police assessment

October 27, 2017. Charleston City Paper.

North Charleston City Council unanimously voted to approve a new memorandum of understanding with the Department of Justice, further cementing the federal agency’s step away from collaborative reform with the city’s police department.

Citizens Taking The Next Step To Retrieve COPS Report

September 28, 2017. The Chronicle.

A coalition formed since the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) announced it will not release its report on its assessment of the North Charleston Police Department initiated last year, is calling for community engagement to force the federal agency to produce the document.

A coalition of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Inc. (NAACPLDF), the North Charleston Branch NAACP, The Charleston Area Justice Ministry (CAJM), the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Community Resource Center last week called on citizens to contact local, state and federal elected officials asking them to push for release of the COPS report.