Racial Profiling Policy

I. PURPOSE

The purpose of the policy is to reaffirm the commitment Victoria College Department of Police & Campus Safety to unbiased policing in all its encounters between officer 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; 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 investigate suspected violations of law. Officers shall actively enforce state and federal laws in a responsible and professional manner, without regard to race, ethnicity or national origin. Officers are strictly prohibited from engaging in racial profiling as defined by Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Chapter 2, Articles 2.132, 2.133 and 2.134. This policy shall be applicable to all persons, whether drivers, passengers or pedestrians. Complaints alleging racial profiling may be filed with Victoria College's Department of Police & Campus Safety . The Department of Police & Campus Safety is located on the second floor of the Academic Building (Room 210), 2200 E. Red River Street, Victoria, TX 77901. The Police Department’s telephone number is (361) 582-2406.

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 in situations where it would be reasonable for any person to otherwise help when necessary. Nor does this policy prohibit stopping someone suspected of a crime based upon observed actions and/or information received about the person.

III. DEFINITIONS

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.

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. Race, ethnicity or national origin may be legitimate 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 are 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.

Race or Ethnicity – Of a particular decent, including Caucasian, African, Hispanic, Asian, or Native American.

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.

Traffic Stop – When a peace officer stops a motor vehicle for an alleged violation of a law or ordinance regulating traffic.

IV. TRAINING

Officers are 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.

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 racial, ethnic or national origin profiling. No person shall be discouraged, intimidated or coerced from filing a complaint, nor discriminated against because he or she filed such a complaint.

B. Any employee who receives an allegation of racial profiling, including the officer who initiated the stop, shall record the person’s name, address and telephone number, and forward the complaint to the Chief of Police or the appropriate college administrator. Any employee contacted shall provide to that person a copy of a complaint form or the department process for filing a complaint. All employees will make a reasonable effort to report any allegation of racial profiling to their supervisor as soon as practical.

C. Investigation of a complaint shall be conducted in a thorough and timely manner. All complaints will be acknowledged in writing to the initiator who will receive disposition regarding said complaint within a reasonable period of time. The investigation shall be reduced to writing and any reviewer’s comments or conclusions shall be filed with the Chief and/or the appropriate college administrator. When applicable, findings and/or suggestions for disciplinary action, retraining, or changes in policy shall be filed with the Chief of Police, and/or appropriate college administrator.

D. If a racial profiling complaint is sustained against an officer, it will result in appropriate corrective and/or disciplinary action, up to and may include termination.

E. If there is a departmental video or audio recording of the events upon which a complaint of racial profiling is based, upon commencement of an investigation by this department into the complaint and by request of the officer who is made the subject of the complaint, this department shall promptly provide a copy of the recording to that 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 but not limited to the media, service or civic presentations, the Internet, posted public notice, as well as governing board meetings. Additionally, information may be made available as appropriate in languages other than English.

VII. CITATION DATA COLLECTION & REPORTING

An officer is required to collect information relating to traffic stops in which a citation is issued. On the citation officers must include:

  1. the violators race or ethnicity;
  2. whether a search was conducted;
  3. was the search consensual; and
  4. arrest for this cited violation or any other violation.

By March 1 of each year, this department shall submit a report to our governing board that includes the information gathered by the citations. The report will include:

  1. a breakdown of citations by race or ethnicity;
  2. number of citations that resulted in a search;
  3. number of searches that were consensual; and
  4. number of citations that resulted in custodial arrest for this cited violation or any other

This information will reflect citations which were issued during the preceding calendar year.

VII. COLLECTION AND REPORTING INFORMATION GATHERED FROM TRAFFIC AND PEDESTRIAN STOPS

An officer who stops a motor vehicle for an alleged violation of a law or ordinance regulating traffic, or who self initiates a pedestrian stop for any suspected offense, shall record and report the following information:

  1. A physical description of each person detained as a result of the stop, including:
    a) The person’s gender;
    b) The person’s race or ethnicity, as stated by the person or as determined by the officer to the best of his/her ability.
  2. The street address or approximate location of the stop.
  3. The suspected offense or the traffic law or ordinance alleged to have been violated.
  4. Whether the officer conducted a search as a result of the stop and, if so, whether the person detained consented to the search.
  5. Whether probable cause to search existed and, if so, the fact(s) supporting the existence of that probable cause.
  6. Whether any contraband was discovered in the course of the search and, if so, the type of contraband discovered.
  7. Whether the officer made an arrest as a result of the stop and/or search, and, if so, a statement of the offense charged.
  8. Whether the officer issued a warning or a citation as a result of the stop and, if so, a statement of the offense charged.

This department shall compile and analyze the information contained in these individual reports. Not later than March 1 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:

  1. A comparative analysis of the information contained in the individual reports in order to:
    a) Determine the prevalence of racial profiling by officers in this department; and
    b) Examine the disposition of traffic and pedestrian stops made by this department’s officers, including searches resulting from stops.
  2. 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.

(This policy is written in compliance with legislation required of an agency who does not have video recording devices, either audio or visual, installed in the departmental patrol vehicles.)

 

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