WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - The Wilmington Police Department admits only 32 percent of required racial profiling forms were submitted to the SBI last year.
According to state law (114-10.01), law enforcement officers are required to submit forms following most types of traffic stops. If those records are not submitted within 60 days, the agency "shall be ineligible to receive any law enforcement grants available by or through the State until the information which is reasonable available is submitted" (114-10.01 (d1)).
Chief Ralph Evangelous says the reason close to 70 percent of the forms were not completed was partly due to the fact that the forms became electronic in the beginning of the year. He says they had some glitches with the system, and even though wect.com obtained reminder emails, he says officers got busy and didn't remember to submit the paper work.
"They are busy and some of them drop the ball, there is no question about that, but we are holding them accountable now," said Evangelous. He says he is taking a special interest in making sure that forms are submitted. In January and February of 2013, 70 to 80 percent of the forms were submitted.
Even though a low percentage was submitted in 2012, the Chief says he does not believe any racial profiling took place. He says looking at numbers from past years and recent months where there was a high compliance rate proves it did not take place.
"From what we've seen and the numbers we've seen, I am confident that there is no racial profiling going on in the department," said Evangelous. He says racial profiling is not acceptable under any conditions.
Evangelous also said he does not believe the department is at risk to lose any grant funding.
The Wilmington Police Department is currently receiving grant money from the Governor's Crime Commission for their Domestic Violence program. The more than $100,000 grant employs two detectives who specialize in handling domestic violence situations. He says he has not heard of any other agency losing grant money in this way.
Representatives from the Governor's Crime Commission explained that if it is brought to their attention that an agency is not reporting all of the information for traffic stops, it will be brought before their Executive Director.
Ultimately, that agency could become ineligible for grants until all information is reported or if the agency is already receiving a grant, the funding could be held until all of the information is reported.
WECT.com is working to see what other agencies are not in compliance on this issue.
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