Racial profiling studies look at Syracuse Police

Two studies concerning racial profiling and the Syracuse Police Department were presented to the Syracuse Common Council on Monday evening.

Both studies had access to the same data, but used different methods and had different conclusions. The study commissioned by the Syracuse Common Council questioned why more minorities were frisked without being arrested and the study other found no proof of racial profiling in the Syracuse Police Department. Both presenters also admitted their work was inconclusive and couldn't fully address all of the elements that could factor into racial profiling.

The most talked about statement of the night didn't come from either study but from Police Chief Frank Fowler. Fowler passionately expressed that in order to make high crime areas safer, he needs to send more officers into those areas. Chief Fowler said he expects the number of minorities stopped in increase in the next three years and showed the crowd a map of recent shots fired calls in Syracuse.

"As long as I am chief of police I am going to dispatch my police officers towards the problems rational people would run away from," said Fowler. "Which is these dark red areas here and these areas are in fact populated by African-American and Hispanic people."

Fowler had a lot of supporters in the crowd. Timothy Jennings-Bey even supported more traffic stops and frisks in his neighborhood.

"Right now safety is the issue. First and foremost, safety is the issue. Racial profiling, we'll get to that piece first but let's put our energies towards urban children being killed and showing the families in these communities a measure of safety," said Jennings-Bey.

Some in the crowd were disappointed the studies didn't have more solutions and wanted the police to target criminals - but not everyone else.

"The police and every officer out there know that as a community we support them wholeheartedly," said Emanuel Snipes. "We want a criminal out of the community, but we want you to determine who is a criminal."

Both studies presented Monday night recommended that the city collect more data on arrests and consider sensitivity training for officers.

Click here to download and read the study "Stops by Syracuse Police" by the Finn Institute for Public Safety.

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