Black and blue
In a shocking display of openess in the first full year of the Tim Dolan era, the MPD actually sent its Internal Affairs annual report to the media last week. But depending on your skin color, that may be where the good news ends.
According to the report, "The Internal Affairs Unit (IAU) is to function as a mechanism to receive, investigate and resolve complaints of employee misconduct." Citizens and cops alike can file complaints.
According to Chief Dolan, the document is "an excellent report, the best report we've ever done," and adds that these reports are a new development under his stint. "It's about transparency and it's about being accountable to the community," says Dolan.
Still, there are some things that the chief would no doubt prefer not be made public. Some notable stats: In 2006, 172 cases were filed with IAU, compared to 102 the year before. Of those, 93 were dismissed with "no basis for complaint," while 16 actually were investigated and closed. In those cases, 10 suspensions were meted out, along with two "Letters of Reprimand," three "Oral Reprimands," and five instances where "coaching" was recommended.
The report also notes that there was "a 2.5 percent increase in calls for service and 16.3 percent increase in arrests for the same time period."
Of 371,466 calls to police last year, 53,220 ended with someone going to the pokey. When broken down by race, 8 percent of those arrested were American Indian, 19 percent were white, and 64 percent were described as "black." Additionally, blacks made up 53 percent of "suspects by race." (The MPD does not track contacts with Latinos.)
Use of force incidents, which can include officer-involved shootings, "incidents that result in injury to a subject," or hospitalization of cops or suspects, also went up, from 723 in 2005 to 876 last year. In those cases, the "subject" was indentifed as black 64 percent of the time.
Dolan notes that more cops are using Tasers, and that while that number is up, every other "use of force" category is down. "As far as use of force and where it's being used, who it's being used on," he concludes, "it's close to reflecting the problems we're having with violent crime and who's committing those violent crimes."