Discussion of reported racial slurs and profiling returned to Powell City Council on Oct. 18.

Discussion of reported racial slurs and profiling returned to Powell City Council on Oct. 18.

Powell officials will continue working with a Powell business owner concerned about racial prejudice.

“Racial and ethnic profiling is totally unacceptable and will not be condoned,” Police Chief Gary Vest told council.

Also attending the meeting was Marie Dove, who on Oct. 4 told council she has “experienced racial slurs” after opening Baby Doves Enrichment Center, a child-care facility, in 2009.

Early in the business’ first year, her minority employees would leave the facility and be pulled over by Powell police, she said.

She also operates Dove’s Parties & Eloquent Events.

Vest said he ran in 2010 an internal investigation and found most of the six stops related to Dove’s employees came late at night. The police weren’t aware that the child-care center had operation hours from 6 a.m. till midnight, with staff cleaning until sometimes 3 a.m.

Once made aware of the business’s hours, Vest said, police understood the nighttime activity.

He said one thing patrol officers watch for at businesses is changes in activity, particularly during off-business hours.

Delaware County NAACP president Mark Butler, who spoke in support of Dove, said “council was open” and he “felt a sincerity” that they wanted to address these issues.

He said he and Dove met with Vest and city manager Steve Lutz after the Oct. 4 meeting to discuss their concerns.

Butler said it’s important that people feel comfortable where they live and work.

“Whether you’re black, brown or white — you have a right to walk down the sidewalk without being stopped by the police unless there is some probable cause to stop the person,” Butler said.

Vest said he plans to attend Delaware County NAACP meetings and to continue contact with Dove to “make sure that everybody is comfortable here” and that “every person feels that the police are somebody we can rely on.”

Vest said that Powell police officers are obligated to report every vehicle stop they make.

A camera starts taping automatically when a police cruiser’s flashing lights are activated.

Vest said if people are concerned about stops, he can pull the tapes and watch the interaction. He needs feedback within 30 to 60 days though, because some cruisers use older VHS tape machines.

Other cruisers have digital cameras, which store data for longer periods.

Reporting vandalism or other concerns is important so police can investigate, Vest said.

Dove had not reported the incidents of vandalism that have occurred, but said she will do so in the future.

“Thank you for responding to what we brought before you,” Dove said. “I believe that Chief Vest will be able to address these issues.”