Here's your chance to evaluate the Duluth Police Department

With a racial bias audit well underway, community feedback will help craft final report on what the agency is doing well and what it needs to change.

Duluth Police Department on patrol
Duluth Police Department squads respond to a call in the Lincoln Park neighborhood Feb. 14.
Clint Austin / File / Duluth News Tribune

DULUTH — Community members are encouraged to share their opinions on the practices of the Duluth Police Department and its existing accountability measures.

An anonymous survey is open through April 16 as part of an ongoing racial bias audit being conducted by the Crime and Justice Institute. The survey aims to provide insight into how people of color view their relationship with Duluth police officers, their awareness of the Citizen Review Board and the accessibility of the department's complaint process.

Nearly a year after the Duluth NAACP demanded racially proportionate policing in Duluth, the News Tribune asked activists and authorities about what has changed and what is still to be accomplished.

“This community survey is an essential part of the audit because it allows us to hear directly from members of the community and understand their opinions on police practices, oversight and accountability,” Katie Zafft, lead auditor of the CJI team, said in a statement. “The perspectives of Duluthians must be reflected in the audit for it to provide a fair assessment and effective recommendations for the future.”

Anyone who is at least 16 and lives or spends considerable time in Duluth is eligible to participate in the survey, which takes an estimated 5-10 minutes. Feedback will help guide the final recommendations in the report, which is expected to be released by late summer or early fall.

The audit, which was first set in motion by a number of community groups in 2020, seeks to identify the department's strengths and weaknesses and identify "what it needs to change in order to follow best practices in equitable policing and strong accountability measures."


Officials hope the first-of-its-kind report will build trust in the community. But activists say accountability requires more than just transparency.

The process is also expected to collect a significant amount of data on police practices and review various policies and procedures. The city awarded CJI the contract worth up to $273,465.

A link to the survey and additional information is available at

Members of the BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and people of color) community are also invited to a community discussion as part of the audit process Friday, April 14, from 5-7 p.m. at the American Indian Community Housing Organization, 202 W. Second St. Individual input will be confidential, but a summary will be incorporated into the final report.

This story was updated at 5:47 p.m. April 6 to indicate that the community event is specifically for members of the BIPOC community. It was originally posted at 6:30 a.m. April 6.

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Tom Olsen has covered crime and courts for the Duluth News Tribune since 2013. He is a graduate of the University of Minnesota Duluth and a lifelong resident of the city. Readers can contact Olsen at 218-723-5333 or
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