The Washington State University Police Department is initiating reforms following the completion of a new study that examined racial bias in the department.
WSU’s Office of Civil Rights Compliance and Investigation found that campus police cited or arrested Black people disproportionally more often than any other racial or ethnic group. The office examined 3 years of WSU Police data following an article from the Daily Evergreen student newspaper that highlighted the disparity. The study found that WSU Police Officers arrested Blacks at about 4 times the rate of Whites.
WSU Police Chief Bill Gardner is starting a workgroup to help craft reforms for his department. That group will include students. The department hopes to have a Civil Rights Action Plan by December. Goals include more officer training about bias and race, clearer policies regarding demographic data collection and improving the reporting process for people who feel they experienced bias from a WSU Police Officer.