Hamilton Police respond to allegations of racial profiling

Several people discussed their stories of racial profiling by the Hamilton Police Department at a meeting held by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference on Saturday, and now the department is responding to those serious allegations.

"Our community is diverse, we deal with all types of people from all walks of life -- different backgrounds and so the ownness is on us to be sensitive to the different needs of whatever background you come from," said Sgt. Steve Henderson with the department's Public Affairs unit.

Henderson says part of their in service training twice a year includes diversity training every two years among officers on the force, he says personnel along with city leaders have even received diversity training from the Department of Justice after facing prior complaints.
"We do a racial based diversity training among our members, so it's something we do as an on going training program within the department," Henderson said.
Henderson says they've only received one formal complaint regarding racial profiling in recent months, which was investigated by the department.
"It's our intention to make sure that no one is profiled because of race or nationality," Henderson said.
But community leader Butch Hubble says training is simply not enough, he and other community members along with the Dayton chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference are pushing for an independent review board to follow up on allegations of police discrimination.
"Right now the police department police themselves, we feel that by having an group of people look at what's going on internally it might help," Hubble said.
Hubble says while he recognizes the department is trying to be proactive and he has even sat in on the department's diversity training, he says he doesn't see that training being implemented in the community.
"Until you practice what you've been taught, it absolutely does no good at all, not every citizen is a criminal," Hubble said.
Community leaders along with the SCLC will be voicing their concerns at next week's Hamilton City Council meeting.

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