Racial Profiling Policy
Amended January 21, 2003
I. Policy and Purpose
This Racial Profiling Policy is adopted in compliance with the requirements of Articles 2.131 through 2.136, Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, which prohibits Texas peace officers from engaging in racial profiling.
Officers shall conduct themselves in a dignified and respectful manner at all times when dealing with the public. Two of the fundamental rights guaranteed by both the United States and Texas constitutions are equal protection under the law and freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures by government agents. The right of all persons to be treated equally and to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures must be respected. Racial profiling is an unacceptable patrol tactic and will not be condoned.
This policy shall not preclude officers from offering assistance, such as upon observing a substance leaking from a vehicle, a flat tire, or someone who appears to be ill, lost or confused. Nor does this policy prohibit stopping someone suspected of a crime based upon observed actions and/or information received about the person.
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 individuals as having engaged in criminal activity.
Racial profiling pertains to persons who are viewed as suspects or potential suspects of criminal behavior. The term is not relevant as it pertains to witnesses, complainants or other citizen contacts.
The prohibition against racial profiling does not preclude the use of race, ethnicity or national origin as factors in a detention decision when used as part of an actual description of a specific suspect for whom an officer is searching. Detaining an individual and conducting an inquiry into that person's activities simply because of that individual's race, ethnicity or national origin is racial profiling. Examples of racial profiling include but are not limited to the following:
- Citing a driver who is speeding in a stream of traffic where most other drivers are speeding because of the cited driver's race, ethnicity or national origin.
- 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 possess that specific make or model of vehicle.
- 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.
A law enforcement agency can derive at two principles from the adoption of this definition of racial profiling.
- Police may not use racial or ethnic stereotypes as factors in selecting whom to stop and search, while police may use race in conjunction with other known factors of the suspect.
- Law enforcement officers may use racial or ethnic stereotypes as factors in selecting whom to stop and search. Racial profiling is not relevant as it pertains to witnesses, etc.
Race Or Ethnicity — means of a particular descent, including Caucasian, African, Hispanic, Asian, or Native American descent.
Acts Constituting Racial Profiling — are acts initiating law enforcement action, such as a traffic stop, a detention, a search, issuance of a citation, or an arrest based solely upon an individual's race, ethnicity, or national origin or on the basis of racial or ethnic stereotypes, rather than upon the individual's behavior, information identifying the individual as having possible engaged in criminal activity, or other lawful reasons for the law enforcement action.
Pedestrian Stop — means an interaction between a peace officer and an individual who is being detained for the purposes of a criminal investigation in which the individual is not under arrest.
Traffic Stop — means the stopping of a motor vehicle by a peace officer for an alleged violation of law or ordinance regulating traffic.
Peace officers of the City of Sinton are strictly prohibited from engaging in racial profiling. The prohibition against racial profiling does not preclude the use of race, ethnicity, or national origin as factors in a detention decision by a peace officer. Race, ethnicity, or national origin may be legitimate factors in such a decision when used as part of a description of a suspect or witness for whom a peace officer is searching.
IV. Complaint Process and Public Education
Any person who believes that a peace officer employed by the City has engaged in racial profiling with respect to that person may file a complaint with the City, and no person shall be discouraged, intimidated, or coerced from filing such a complaint, or be discriminated against because they have filed such a complaint.
The City shall accept and investigate citizen complaints alleging racial profiling by it's peace officers. Such complaints shall be in writing or the city employee, officer, or official receiving the complaint should reduce the same to writing, and should include the time, place and details of the incident of alleged racial profiling, the identity of description of the peace officer or officers involved, and the identity and manner of contacting the complainant.
Any peace officer, city employee or city official who receives a citizen complaint alleging racial profiling shall forward the complaint to the Chief of Police, before the end of the shift. Receipt of each complaint shall be acknowledged to the complainant in writing, all such complaints shall be reviewed and investigated by the Detectives within a reasonable period of time, and the results of the Detective's review and investigation shall be filed with the Chief of Police and with the complainant.
In investigating a complaint alleging racial profiling, the Detective shall seek to determine if the officer who is subject of the complaint has engaged in a pattern of racial profiling that includes multiple acts constituting racial profiling for which there is no reasonable, credible explanation based on established police and law enforcement procedures. A single act constituting racial profiling may not be considered a pattern of racial profiling, but it may be grounds for corrective action.
In the event that a complaint of racial profiling filed by an individual involves an occurrence that was recorded on audio or video, the Detective shall, upon commencement of the investigation of the complaint and upon written request of the officer, promptly provide a copy of the recording to the peace officer that is a subject of the complaint.
The Police Department of the City of Sinton shall provide education to the public concerning the racial profiling complaint process. A summary of the public education efforts made during the preceding year shall be included with the annual report filed with the governing body of the city of Sinton under Part VI below. Additional information will be made available as appropriate in languages other than English.
V. Corrective Action
Any peace officer who is found, after investigation, to have engaged in racial profiling in violation of this policy shall be subject to corrective action, which may include reprimand, diversity, sensitivity or other appropriate training or counseling; paid or unpaid suspension; termination of employment, or other appropriate action as determined the Chief of Police.
VI. Collection of Information and Annual Report When Citation Issued or Arrest Made
For each traffic stop in which a citation is issued and for each arrest resulting from such traffic stops, a peace officer involved in the stop shall collect information identifying the race or ethnicity of the person detained, stating whether a search was conducted, and if a search was conducted, whether the person detained consented to the search.
The information collected shall be compiled in an annual report covering the period January 1 through December 31 of each year, and shall be submitted to the governing body of the City of Sinton no later than March 1, of the following year. The report will include:
- a breakdown of citations by race or ethnicity;
- number of citations that resulted in a search
- number of searches that were consensual; and
- number of citations that resulted in custodial arrest for this cited violation or any other violation.
The annual report shall not include identifying information about any individual stopped or arrested, and shall not include identifying information about any peace officer involved in a stop or arrest.
VI. Collection, Compilation, Analysis, and Reporting Requirements in Absence of Either Audio and Video Equipment
If the equipment used to record audio and/or video of traffic or pedestrian stops is malfunctioning or otherwise not operable, each peace officer of the City shall make the following report for each traffic and pedestrian stop:
A physical description of each person detained as a result of the stop, including:
- The person's gender; and
- The person's race or ethnicity, as stated by the person, or if the person does not state the person's race or ethnicity, as determined by the officer to the best of his or her ability;
- The traffic law or ordinances alleged to have been violated or the suspected offense;
- Whether the officer conducted a search as a result of the stop, and, if so whether the person detained consented to the search;
- Whether any contraband was discovered in the course of the search and the type of contraband discovered;
- Whether probable cause to search existed and the facts supporting the existence of that probable cause,
- Whether the officer made an arrest as the result of the stop or the search, including a statement of the offense charged;
- The street address or approximate location of the stop; and
- Whether the officer issued a warning or a citation as a result of the stop, including a description of the warning or a statement of the violation charged.
This department shall compile and analyze the information contained in these individual reports. Not later than March 1st of each year, this department shall submit a report to our governing body containing the information compiled from the preceding calendar year in a manner they approve.
This report will include:
A comparative analysis of the information contained in the individual
reports in order to:
- Determine the prevalence of racial profiling by officers in this department; and
- Examine the disposition of traffic and pedestrian stops made by this department's officers, including searches resulting from stops.
- Information relating to each complaint filed with this department alleging racial profiling.
This report will not include identifying information about a peace officer who makes a stop or about an individual who is stopped or arrested by a peace officer.
VII. Use of Video and Audio Equipment
Each motor vehicle regularly used by this department to make traffic and pedestrian stops is equipped with a video camera and transmitter-activated equipment, and each motorcycle regularly used by this department to make traffic and pedestrian stops is equipped with transmitter-activated equipment; and
Each traffic and pedestrian stop made by an officer of this department that is capable of being recorded by video and audio, or audio; as appropriate, is recorded.
This department shall retain the video and audiotapes, or the audiotape of each traffic and pedestrian stop for at least ninety (90) days after the date of the stop. If a complaint is filed with this department alleging that one of our officers has engaged in racial profiling with respect to a traffic or pedestrian stop, this department shall retain the video and audiotapes, or the audiotape of the stop until final disposition of the complaint.
Supervisors will ensure officers of this department are recording their traffic and pedestrian stops. A recording of each officer will be reviewed at least every ninety (90) days.
Officers responsible to adhere to all Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education (TCLEOSE) training and the Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas (LEMIT) requirements as mandated by law.
All officers shall complete a TCLEOSE 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, whichever date is earlier. A person who on September 1, 2001, held a TCLEOSE intermediate proficiency certificate, or who had held a peace officer license issued by TCLEOSE for at least two years, shall complete a TCLEOSE training and education program on racial profiling not later than September 1, 2003.
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.
An individual appointed or elected as a police chief before the effective date of this Act shall complete the program on racial profiling established under Subsection (j), Section 96.641, Education Code, as added by this Act, not later than September 1, 2003.