Feb 242020

Rotary Club of Charleston Partners with Charleston PD to Launch Leadership Development Institute to Address Recommendations from Recent Racial Bias Audit

To Mark 100th Anniversary Historic Rotary Club Pledges $50,000 grant to improve policing practices, training and development, and public trust 

February 18, 2020 – CHARLESTON, S.C. – The Charleston Police Department and The Rotary Club of Charleston today announced the launch of a Leadership Development Institute (LDI) which will have as its focus to create a leadership training program that creates a safe community, builds strong partnerships and develops purposeful leaders.

The LDI is a direct action following findings and recommendations of an independent force-wide audit last year. The audit concluded that a key challenge facing the department was a lack of sufficient leadership training of its personnel. It recommended the development of a comprehensive training plan that also engages and involves community leaders in its creation.

The Rotary Club of Charleston will contribute the first $50,000 to assist in developing a curriculum and associated training infrastructure for the CPD. The project will be the training foundation that will provide guidance, strategy and positive influence to all sworn CPD officers to ensure positive community engagement today and for the future. 

The partnership coincides with the 100th Anniversary of Rotary in Charleston, which was chartered in February, 1920. As part of its centennial celebration, the club chose an Impact Project that it felt represented an urgent priority for the community and would have long term impact in Charleston and beyond. The LDI project supports a core focus area of Rotary International, Peace and Conflict Resolution.

As part of the partnership the Rotary Club will be represented on the LDI’s board of directors and provide direct input, assessment and feedback on the development and operation of it. In addition, the Club will support on-going community engagement and relations programs as the project evolves to promote the initiative and assess its impact. The audit noted that forming partnerships with communities they serve will be essential in “ensuring that required changes are institutionalized.”

 “The key to the implementation and sustainability of this program is the inclusion of internal and external stakeholders that share the same interests of CPD related to community engagement and community improvements. Rotary and the Charleston Police Department have a similar motto which calls for putting service over self. With the support and involvement of Rotary, this training initiative will be a critical part of our strategy to build better leaders from within our ranks and empower our officers to provide a higher level of service and accountability across all the stakeholders we serve,” said Police Chief Luther Reynolds.

“Rotary has a proud legacy of partnering with local organizations to improve the communities in which we live,” said Digit Matheny, who served on the club’s 100th anniversary grant selection committee and will act as one of the key liaisons with CPD. “This initiative represents an ideal way to help ensure a better Charleston now and for generations to come. We look forward to supporting Chief Reynolds and his team in developing a training initiative that can be a benchmark for enlightened and empathetic law enforcement nationwide, as well as extend to other critical public services that touch our community.”

About Rotary

Rotary brings together a global network of volunteer leaders dedicated to tackling the world’s most pressing humanitarian challenges. We connect 1.2 million members from more than 35,000 Rotary clubs in almost every country in the world. Their service improves lives both locally and internationally, from helping those in need in their own communities to working toward a polio-free world. More information can be found at www.rotary.org

The Rotary Club of Charleston, founded in 1920, is comprised of business and civic leaders who are dedicated to making an impact through service and support of important initiatives both locally and internationally. www.charleston-rotary.org

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