Apex mayor, police chief committed to changing department's culture
The Apex Police Department needs to have officers undergo racial equity training, recruit more minority and female officers and hire a diversity officer to overcome "deeply entrenched" racial bias in the department, a consultant told town officials in a report released Wednesday.
WEEKEND. >>> FIRST AT 5:00, THIS IS IT. PAGE AFTER PAGE OF THIS REPORT, MANY OF THESE PAGES REDACTED AS YOU CAN SEE. WRAL HAS GONE THROUGH A NEWLY RELEASED AND EYE OPENING REPORT ABOUT WHAT IS GOING ON INSIDE THE APEX POLICE HEADQUARTERS. THE BIG FOCUS THIS AFTERNOON, IS THERE RACIAL BIAS WITHIN THE DEPARTMENT? >> WE WANTED TO GIVE YOU AN IDEA OF WHAT SOME OF THE OFFICERS INTERVIEWED HAD TO SAY IN THE REPORT, WHICH WAS DONE AFTER THE BLACK LIVES MATTER PROTESTS LAST YEAR. ONE COMMENT FROM AN APEX POLICE OFFICER, AND THIS IS A QUOTE, GEORGE FLOYD DID NOT DIE DUE TO THE COPS. HE WAS A DRUG HEAD AND ASKED FOR IT. WRAL'S ADAM OWENS IS LIVE IN APEX AFTER SPEAKING WITH THE MAYOR AND THE POLICE CHIEF. ADAM? >> Reporter: THAT'S RIGHT, AND IT IS THE CULTURAL ASSESSMENT, A LOT OF IT IS REDACTED, BUT IT SHOWS RACIAL BIAS IN THE APEX POLICE DEPARTMENT. AS YOU MENTIONED, I SPOKE WITH THE MAYOR AND THE INTERIM POLICE CHIEF HERE. THEY BOTH DID NOT TRY TO DEFEND SOME OF WHAT YOU'RE ABOUT TO HEAR FROM THIS REPORT. IN FACT, THEY TELL ME THEY FOUND IT DISTURBING. TOXIC, STRESS. AND HUER REMEMBER DOS. HORRENDOUS. THAT IS HOW THE CULTURE OF THE APEX POLICE DEPARTMENT DESCRIBE IT BY PEOPLE WHO WORK INSIDE OF IT. THAT IS ACCORDING TO THIS SURVEY COMPLETED IN OCTOBER BUT IT IS THE ITEMS OF RACE THAT IS GETTING ATTENTION, INCLUDING GEORGE FLOYD DID NOT DIE DUE TO THE COPS, BUT WAS A DRUG HEAD AND ASKED FOR IT. THEY SAY THERE IS NO POLICE BRUTALITY, AND THE MEDIA FABRICATES LIES, THAT THE BLACK COMMUNITY HATES THE POLICE DEPARTMENT AND POLICE ARE ABUSIVE TO MINORITIES. MINORITIES. DO YOU THINK THAT WE HAVE SOME ISSUES WE NEED TO ADDRESS IN THE TOWN? >> ABSOLUTELY, YEAH. IT IS CONCERNING, DISTURBING. AND WE -- YOU KNOW, WE RECOGNIZE THAT. WE ACKNOWLEDGE IT, AND WHAT I'LL SAY IS, YOU KNOW, THIS IS WHY WE ESTABLISHED A PLAN TO ADDRESS THOSE ISSUES. >> Reporter: MAYOR JOHN GILBERT SAYS THE POINT OF THE ASSESSMENT WAS TO TAKE A HARD, PERHAPS PAINFUL LOOK AT THESE ISSUES SO THEY CAN BE FIXED. TOWN LEADERS ARE WORKING ON AN ACTION PLAN THAT INCLUDES HIRING A DIVERSITY OFFICER AND EQUITY TRAINING. >> ARE THE COMMENTS IN THE REPORT DISTURBING? I JUST FEEL LIKE YOU NEED TO HEAR FROM THE POLICE CHIEF AND SAY THAT ABSOLUTELY. >> Reporter: THE INTERIM APEX POLICE CHIEF TONY GODWIN SAYS BECAUSE THE REPORT IS ANONYMOUS, IT MAKES IT DIFFICULT TO DETERMINE HOW MANY PEOPLE IN HIS DEPARTMENT SHARED THOSE DISTURBING CHENETS, BUT HE WANTS THE PUBLIC KNOW THOSE STATEMENTS DO NOT DEFINE THE WHOLE OF THE DEPARTMENT. >> WE HAVE A GREAT MANY MEN AND WOMEN THAT ARE SERVING THIS COMMUNITY WITH DIGNITY, RESPECT, PROFESSIONALISM. >> Reporter: BUT EMANCIPATE N.C. SAYS IT IS ALSO CLEAR THERE IS A PROBLEM. >> THE PEOPLE OF APEX WHO ARE PEOPLE OF COLOR HAVE NO REASON TO HAVE FAITH OR TRUST IN THEIR LAW ENFORCEMENT. >> Reporter: AND THE MAYOR SAYS THE FACT THAT THIS ASSESSMENT EXISTS AT ALL IS PROOF THAT THEY WANT TO DO BETTER. THEY SAY IT WAS CREATED TO BRING FORWARD ANY ISSUES THAT MAY EXIST SO THEY CAN BE ADDRESSED. BACK TO YOU. >> ADAM OWENS, LIVE IN APEX.