Racial Profiling Policy

Live Oak Police Department
Policy#:       3-20
Issue Date:   1/30/2015
Revised:
Standard:  TBP 2.01
 

Racial Profiling

I.   Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to affirm the Live Oak Police Department’s commitment to unbiased policing in all its encounters between officers and any person; to reinforce procedures that serve to ensure public confidence and mutual trust through the provision of services in a fair and equitable fashion; to comply with the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure regarding the prohibition of racial profiling and law enforcement policies on racial profiling (see Tex. Code Crim. P. Chapter 2 et. seq.); and to protect our officers from unwarranted accusations of misconduct when they act within the dictates of departmental policy and the law.

II.  Policy

It is the policy of this department to police in a proactive manner and to aggressively investigate suspected violations of the law. Officers shall actively enforce state, federal and local laws in a responsible and professional manner, without regard to race, ethnic background, gender, sexual orientation, religion, economic status, age, cultural group, or any other identifiable group. Officers are strictly prohibited from engaging in bias-based/racial profiling as defined in this policy and as outlined in the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure. This policy shall be applicable to all persons, whether drivers, passengers or pedestrians.

 This policy shall not preclude officers from offering assistance to persons when appropriate, e.g. someone appears ill; person appears lost; person has vehicle problems etc.  Additionally, this policy does not prohibit consensual encounters with persons, absent a racial profiling basis.  Nor does this policy prohibit stopping someone suspected of a crime based upon observed actions and/or information received about the person.

III. Definitions

A. Bias-Based Profiling - The selection of an individual based solely on a trait common to a group for enforcement action. This includes, but is not limited to: race, ethnic background, gender, sexual orientation, religion, economic status, age, cultural group, or any other identifiable group. Bias-Based Profiling includes Racial Profiling.

B. Racial Profiling – A law enforcement initiated action based on an individual’s race, ethnicity, or national origin rather than on the individual’s behavior or on information identifying the individual as having engaged in criminal activity.

1. Racial profiling pertains to persons who are viewed as suspects or potential suspects of criminal behavior. The term is not relevant to witnesses, complainants or other citizen contacts.

2. The prohibition against racial profiling does not preclude the use of race, ethnicity or national origin as factors in a detention decision when they are used as part of an actual description of a specific suspect for whom an officer is searching. 

3. Detaining an individual and conducting and inquiry into that person’s activities simply because of that individual’s race, ethnicity or national origin constitutes racial profiling. Examples of racial profiling include but are not limited to the following:

a. Citing a driver who is speeding in a stream of motor vehicles where most other drivers are speeding because of the cited driver’s race, ethnicity or national origin.

b. Detaining the driver of a vehicle based on the determination that a person of that race, ethnicity or national origin is unlikely to own or possesses that specific make or model of vehicle.

c. Detaining an individual based upon the determination that a person of that race, ethnicity or national origin does not belong in a specific part of town or a specific place.

C. Race or Ethnicity – Of a particular descent, including Caucasian, African, Hispanic, Asian, Native American or Middle Eastern descent.

D. Pedestrian Stop – An interaction between a peace officer and an individual who is being detained for the purpose of a criminal investigation in which the individual is not under arrest. The detention does not originate from a motor vehicle contact.

E. Motor Vehicle Stop – an occasion in which a peace officer stops a motor vehicle for an alleged violation of a law or ordinance.

IV. Training

A. Officers are required to adhere to all Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE) training and the Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas (LEMIT) requirements as mandated by law.

B. All officers shall complete TCOLE training and education program on racial profiling not later than the second anniversary of the date the officer is licensed under Chapter 1701 of the Texas Occupations Code or the date the officer applies for an intermediate proficiency certificate.

C. The chief of police, as part of the initial training and continued education for such appointment, will be required to attend the LEMIT program on racial profiling.

V. Complaint Investigation

A. The department shall accept complaints from any person who believes he or she has been stopped or searched based on bias-based or racial profiling. No person shall be discouraged, intimidated or coerced from filing a complaint, nor discriminated against because he or she filed such a complaint. A complaint may be filed by the guidelines outlined in the department’s Professional Standard policy, Section VI(D).

B. Any employee who receives an allegation of bias-                       based/racial profiling, including the officer who                   initiated the stop, shall address the complaint in conformance with the department’s Professional Standards policy, specifically Section IV(D).

C. Investigation of a complaint shall be conducted in a thorough and timely manner, consistent with pertinent provisions of the department’s Professional Standards policy, which provides procedures for addressing citizen complaints.

D. If a bias-based/racial profiling complaint is sustained against an officer after an investigation and in violation of this policy, it will result in appropriate corrective and/or disciplinary action, up to and including termination.

E. If there is a departmental video or audio recording of the event upon which a complaint of racial profiling is based, upon commencement of an investigation by this department into the complaint and upon written request by the officer made the subject of the complaint, the department shall promptly provide a copy of the recording to the officer.

VI. Public Education

This department will inform the public of its policy against racial profiling and the complaint process. Methods that may be utilized to inform the public are the news media, radio, service or civic presentations, the Internet, as well as governing board meetings. Additionally, information will be made available as appropriate in languages other than English.

VII. Citation Data Collection and Reporting – Tier 1

A. An officer is required to collect information relating to motor vehicle stops in which a citation is issued or an arrest made as a result of the stop. On the citation officers must include:

1. The race or ethnicity of the individual detained;

2. Whether a search was conducted, and if so, whether the search was consensual (an inventory search or search incident to arrest is not counted as a search for reporting purposes);

3. Whether the peace officer knew the race or ethnicity of the individual detained before detaining that individual; and

4. Whether the violator was arrested.

B. Each year, the Chief of Police (or the designated chief administrator) shall submit an annual report of the information collected under Section VII(A) to the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement and its governing body that includes the pertinent information collected on the citations from the preceding calendar year. The report will include:

1. A breakdown of citations by race or ethnicity of the individuals detained;

2. Number of citations that resulted in a search;

3. Number of searches;

4. Number of searches that were consensual;

5. Information on whether peace officer knew the race or ethnicity of the individual detained prior to the stop; and

6. Number of motor vehicle stops that resulted in custodial arrest or citation.

C. The first such report shall be submitted by March 1 of the current year for the period beginning January 1 through December 31 of the previous year. The report may not include identifying information about a peace officer who makes the motor vehicle stop or an individual who is stopped or arrested by a peace officer.

D. Data Entry of Required Information

1. Race: Use “unknown” for unoccupied vehicles where a citation is issued, e.g. parking violation.

2. Search Conducted: Select either “yes” or “no.” Do not select “N/A” or “Unknown.”

3. Search Consensual: Correct responses are “yes”, “no”, or “N/A” if a search was not conducted.

4. Knowledge of Race Prior to Stop: Select either “yes” or “no.”

5. Arrest: Select either “yes” or “no.”

VIII. Video and Audio Equipment

A. If a motor vehicle regularly used to make motor vehicle and pedestrian stops is equipped with a mobile video camera, each video recording shall be retained for a minimum of ninety (90) days. If a complaint is filed alleging that a peace officer engaged in racial profiling with respect to a motor vehicle or pedestrian stop, the video recording shall be retained until final disposition of the complaint or expiration of filing deadline for all lawsuits, whichever is later.

B.  If a motor vehicle regularly used to make motor vehicle and pedestrian stops is equipped with a mobile video camera, officers shall activate the video and audio recording on all such contacts. Additionally, officers shall, when feasible, adjust the camera as necessary to capture the contact with the citizen.

C.  Supervisors will ensure officers of the department are properly using the video and audio recording features by conducting spot checks as appropriate. An officer’s failure to use the video and audio recording features may be grounds for discipline.

D.  Patrol supervisors shall review a minimum of three motor vehicle and/or pedestrian contacts as captured on video/audio by each officer under his/her command each calendar month.

E.  In reviewing audio and video recordings, the supervisor shall seek to determine if the officer, who is involved therein, has engaged in an incident or pattern of racial profiling.

F.  On commencement of an investigation by the department of a complaint pursuant to Section V in which a video or audio recording of the occurrence on which the complaint was made, the Department shall promptly provide a copy of the recording to the peace officer who is the subject of the complaint on written request of the officer.

G.  Patrol officers shall refer to Policy #3-16 Mobile Video Recording for guidelines and operating procedures regarding the use of mobile video.

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