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
It's ironic. People, especially Whites, must swear they don't
use race as any criteria when it comes to hiring, firings, police stops,
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
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
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