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Poor data collection prevents study of Orlando PD from addressing key question of racial disparity

Orlando Police Chief Orlando Rolón told the City Commission he 100% embraces the findings of a recent review. Image: City of Orlando via YouTube
Orlando Police Chief Orlando Rolón told the City Commission he 100% embraces the findings of a recent review. Image: City of Orlando via YouTube

An independent review of the Orlando Police Department recommends community policing, comprehensive rules for the use of force, and better data collection.

But the study failed to address its reason for being: the issue of racial equity at OPD.

City Commissioner Regina Hill is disappointed The Bowman Group did not tackle the key issue of racial disparity.

"It's great that we paid this $800,000 to analyze OPD but we really didn't get what we were looking for, I truly believe," said at a workshop on Monday.

Theron Bowman blames OPD's failure to collect good data, like information on traffic stops and searches. 

"The reason we made data our number one recommendation is because we got into it and we cannot make a number of those recommendations because of the shortage, the shortcomings of the data," he said.

Chief Orlando Rolón says he is all-in on the recommendations.

"I one hundred percent embrace the outcome of this process," he said.

And he believes there's no systemic racism at OPD.

Rolón says he plans to make solving the data collection problem a top priority.

Joe Byrnes came to WMFE/WMFV from the Ocala Star-Banner and The Gainesville Sun, where he worked as a reporter and editor for several years. Joe graduated from Loyola University in New Orleans and turned to journalism after teaching. He enjoys freshwater fishing and family gatherings.