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02/06/04  Racial Profiling Study

A new racial profiling study was released this week. The study claims that North Texas Law Enforcement is stopping and searching minority drivers at a higher rate than "white" drivers.  While I can't set the record straight,  I can tell you this study is flawed.
 

The data on race is flawed from the beginning, before any economist had the chance to manipulate them. The race of a person is not determined by the person, but by the officer reporting the information. If you look white to me, you're white.

It's a violation of Dallas Police Department's General Orders to ask a person their race.

My father is of European descent and would be mistaken as a Hispanic by many Dallas Officers.  For those of you who think your driver's license tells the officer your race, you are only partially right.  The information provided by the DPS allows for two categories:  white and black.  Anglo, Arabic, Hispanic, Asian, European, American Indian and Polynesian are all lumped into the white category.  Anyone of African decent is deemed black.
   
JC:
   It's ironic.  People, especially Whites, must swear they don't use race as any criteria when it comes to hiring, firings, police stops, etc. 
   Our government, the very body we elect, punishes us with our tacit approval, yet insists only they can use racial profiling for a "good cause" such as setting quotas, affirmative action issues, hate crime laws etc.
   When did people who hold public office become so infinitely more intelligent than the rest of us??


The data also does not take into account those people who were stopped and merely given a warning.  Dallas does not issue written warnings.  There is no way to account for the number of times that an officer stops a driver of a particular race and does not issue a citation.

I also have an issue with the way in which they calculated the makeup of the population. The figures were based on census information.  Many people drive through Dallas for various reasons and come into contact with the police.  Many people I stop and arrest do not live in Dallas.  Many who do live in Dallas do not live in the geographical area where I patrol.

The main problem I've had with reporting the racial profiling information is that Sergeants (who were not at the scene of the arrest) try to tell me whether my search of a person or their vehicle was consensual.

Consider this scenario:  I stop a vehicle for a broken tail light. I speak with the driver and identify him. I check the driver on my computer and determine that he has several warrants from Dallas PD.  At this point, I do not know what the warrants are for, merely that the warrants exist.  I walk back to the vehicle and ask the driver if I can search the vehicle. He says, "Yes."  I then search the vehicle and find a pistol and a gram of crack cocaine.  I place the driver under arrest and then tow his vehicle.  At the jail, the sergeant will ask me for a racial profiling scantron with my arrest report.  Is that search consensual?  I would argue yes.  The judge would say yes.  The jail sergeants say no.  So, I throw away the racial profiling scantron and fill it out as they say.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram had a fantastic quote that gets to the heart of the issue:  "People who can afford new cars typically aren't going to have headlights out, taillights out, license-plate lights out, " Mendoza said in 2002.  "People that are poor typically are buying used cars and repairing them, which will make them more vulnerable to basic mechanical problems officers utilize to make those stops."

Rather than race, education and socio-economic status has more to do with a person coming into contact with police.

People ask me if I consider race in how I do my job.  I can say it does not.  

I will say that I see the collection of racial profiling data as the first step back towards quotas.  If the trend continues and this study is taken seriously, quotas will be just around the corner whether officially sanctioned or not.  That won't be good for anyone:  white, black or other.
 

                                        

    





                            

 

  Ward politics is the Devil's key to the soul of the city council.  It is how some council members got themselves in trouble in the past.  It is the bait that will get others in trouble in the future. 4/6/8