On February 15th, 2021, WBTV Investigative Reporter Nick Ochsner did a story indicating that CMPD Officers stop and arrest a disproportionate number of black people. His story omitted context which failed to tell the full story. Our lodge made a statement via our Facebook page. Our response to the news article, along with the actual article and the full-length interview with CMPD Major Butler follows:
The Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 9 (FOP) would like to clarify information released within an investigative report published by WBTV and Investigative Reporter Nick Ochsner. We believe the investigative report lacks sufficient context that tells the full story and properly informs the community.
While we understand the report’s focus is on Westover and Metro Divisions' Crime Reduction Units (CRUs), the WBTV report implies that CMPD officers are specifically targeting minorities. This false representation of police conduct is misleading and only serves to further disenfranchise the community from law enforcement.
Additional context missing from the WBTV report includes, but is not limited to, the following:
-The report fails to mention the population demographics of Metro and Westover Divisions, which are predominantly minority communities (84% and 55% Black/Hispanic/Latino for Metro and Westover Division, respectively).
-CRUs represent only a small section of an entire patrol division. Patrol officers handle a wide range of calls, while CRU officers respond only to specific crime priorities. WBTV should clearly state that their numbers do not represent the entirety of Westover or Metro Divisions as a whole.
-CRUs focus on specific areas (i.e., roads or corridors) with higher crime rates or where citizens have requested extra police patrols. This micro-demographic focus leads to the sensationalized numbers referenced in the report.
-The data gathered for this report is based on only 11 officers assigned to Westover and Metro Division CRUs. These two divisions have a total of 112 patrol officers and additional officers assigned to specialized assignments.
-CRU focus areas are determined by criminal activity data compiled from calls of service (i.e., 911 calls), demographics are not a consideration in determining where CRUs need to patrol. However, the data does indicate that our communities of color are disproportionally affected by violent crime.
-A significant percentage of officer-initiated traffic stops have led to the arrest of escaped prisoners, kidnappers, attempted murders, and drug traffickers. An officer's job is to actively police and identify suspicious activity based on compliance with the law.
For the full story, we have uploaded the interview between CMPD Major Butler and Mr. Ochsner in its entirety to our Facebook page. The community and the media are quick to hold our law enforcement officers to the highest standard when carrying out their professional duties. With regard to the unbiased reporting of the facts, it is time for journalists to be held to that same standard.
Full length video between CMPD Major Butler and WBTV's Nick Ochsner