Tampa Police Chief Eric Ward told city council members that the number of bike citations in the city are going down.

Earlier this year, an investigation by the Tampa Bay Times found the number of tickets being issued in the city was higher than average and the majority of tickets were being given to blacks.

Since taking over in May, Chief Ward told the council he's made this issue a priority.

Rather than officers writing tickets to people for things like not having lights or riding hands-free, he said they're taking a different approach.

"You know, educating first verses citations as well as making sure officers engage with the community. Part of our responsibility is to focus on connecting and relationship building, "said Chief Ward.

Ward said overall bike stops in August are down 57 percent from last year.

He said tickets resulting from those stops are down 80 percent.

Residents said it's a start.

"Whatever is going to make them drop the ticketing and have people be more aware and more responsible. If that's what he's going to do, by all means," said Michael Reaves.

Council members want the chief to take it even further.

They're asking for any future reports on bike stops and citations to include information about whether it lead to arrests for more serious crimes.

Next Thursday, the city council will discuss establishing a civilian review board to look at police actions.

In addition, a Department of Justice report on the police department's crackdown on black bicyclists is expected by the end of the year.