Understanding Bias-Based Traffic Law Enforcement:
A Manual To Reduce Bias-Based Traffic Law Enforcement

Understanding Bias-Based Traffic law Enforcement


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Traffic Enforcement

Community Outreach

Data Collection


Legislation and Case Law


Policies on Bias-Based Policing

Education and training are two of the most important aspects of reducing bias-based traffic law enforcement. However, education and training alone will not heal the troubles of police racial bias. The chief executive must work to develop good policies, policy enforcement, personnel selection, supervision, community relations, and accountability.

Programs aimed at reducing the prospect of biased traffic law enforcement should not be accusatory. Rather, they need to foster positive relationships between management, officers, and the community, which in turn, create departmental honor and public trust.

Listed below are a few government leaders, agencies and foundations with policies or programs that address bias-based traffic law enforcement. Although this list includes a small number of institutions, most web sites have links that lead to more programs.

Racial Profiling in the United States
In his Address to the Joint Session of Congress in 2001, President George W. Bush declared, “Too many of our citizens have cause to doubt our nation’s justice, when the law points a finger of suspicion at groups, instead of individuals. All our citizens are created equal and must be treated equal. It’s wrong and we will end it in America.” 3

Memorandum for the Attorney General on Racial Profiling
“I hereby direct you to review the use by Federal law enforcement authorities of race as a factor in conducting stops, searches, and other investigative procedures. In particular, I ask that you work with the Congress to develop methods or mechanisms to collect any relevant data from Federal law enforcement agencies and work in cooperation with State and local law enforcement in order to assess the extent and nature of any such practices.

I further direct that you report back to me with your findings and recommendations for the improvement of the just and equal administration of our Nation’s laws.”

George W. Bush, February 27, 2001, White House news release http://www.whitehouse.gov

Wyoming Governor Jim Geringer, July 13, 2001
“Wyoming does not and will not engage in racial profiling. Traffic stops will not be made that violate fundamental civil and constitutional rights or our law enforcement mission and value statements. This resolution clearly states our objection to and commitment against racial profiling in Wyoming.” www.state.wy.us

Bias-Free Policing
2001 Civil Rights Committee
Every police agency should have a policy, which clearly prohibits bias policing. The International Association of Chiefs of Police reaffirms its long-standing position against biased enforcement or any other type of discriminatory practices. www.theiacp.org

Condemnation of Bias-Based Policing
2001 Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Committee
Traffic stops should not be made on the basis of the motorist’s race, ethnicity, or economic status, but rather on articulable suspicion or actual violation of a law. www.theiacp.org


Policies or Organizational Statements on Racial Profiling

Arlington County (VA) Police Department Profiling Policy www.profilesininjustice.com/laws_art11.html

American Bar Association Resolution on Profiling www.profilesininjustice.com/laws_art12.html

Florida Highway Patrol Policies on Profiling

International Association of Chiefs of Police Resolution condemning race and ethnic profiling traffic stops, Nov. 3, 1999

Michigan State Police Policy on Consent Searches www.profilesininjustice.com/laws_art03.html

Portland, Oregon Area Law Enforcement Non-Discrimination Resolution

St. Paul, Minnesota, Policy Statement Regarding Biased-Based Profiling – Ethical Consideration

Washtenaw County (Michigan) A resolution supporting the development and implementation of policies, guidelines, and training to ensure fair and unbiased police practices

AELE (Americans for Effective Law Enforcement) Specimen Policy on Citizen Stops
A “Specimen Directive,” written by AELE, which prohibits discriminatory stops, searches and enforcement action

Florida Traffic Stops Policy
Sample Professional Traffic Stops Policy and Procedure, adopted by the Florida Police Chiefs Association

Illinois Policy
Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police Model Policy on Bias-Based Policing

Missouri Policy
Missouri Police Chiefs Association’s policy to limit law enforcement authority for the enforcement of laws, statutes, ordinances and arrests

Mount Prospect, Illinois Police Department
A policy to prohibit a stop, detention or search of a person when motivated by
race, color, ethnicity, age, gender or sexual orientation.

Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) Model Policy
PERF’s report, “Racially Biased Policing: A Principled Response,” contains a model policy in Chapter 4

Schaumburg, Illinois Police Department
A policy to prohibit racial profiling and any other discriminatory practice www.aele.org/schpol.html


Policies or Organizational Statements on Data Collection

Statement of Alameda County California Chiefs of Police and Sheriff’s Association on Traffic Stop Collection Policy

Michigan Department of State Police Data Collection Policy

California Highway Patrol Policy, (Management Memo 99-160, Sept. 30, 1999) www.profilesininjustice.com/laws_ art05.html

Traffic Stops Statistics Study Act of 2000 The 2nd Session of the 106th Congress authorized the Attorney General to conduct a nationwide study of stops for traffic
violations by law enforcement officers www.aele.org


Publications on Bias-Based Traffic Law Enforcement/Racial Profiling and Data Collection

A Resource Guide on Racial Profiling Data Collection Systems: Promising Practices and Lessons Learned, by Deborah Ramirez, Jack McDevitt, and Amy Ferrell, U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance, NCJ 184768.

A comprehensive collection of information, analyses, and insights on the issue of data collection. This monograph surveys the most promising practices from around the nation and makes recommendations for police agencies considering introducing data collection programs. This monograph, NCJ 184768, can be obtained from the National Criminal Justice Reference Service at 1-800-851-3420 or www.ncjrs.org

Driving While Black: Racial Profiling on our Nation’s Highways,
(June 1, 1999)
This report, by the American Civil Liberties Union, highlights the problem of racial profiling and looks for ways to improve the picture. www.aclu.org

Examples of Promising Police Practices and Policies
by the Department of Justice. Principle for Promoting Police Integrity (January 2001). www.ojp.usdoj.gov

State and Local Law Enforcement Discipline, Accountability, and Due Process Act of 2000.
A contention that there is a significant lack of due process rights for the officer. Prepared by Major Cities Chiefs and Police Executive Research Forum. www.policeforum.org

American Civil Liberties Union: Arrest the Racism
The ACLU has undertaken a major initiative to put an end to discriminatory police stops, including the launch of the Arrest the Racism Campaign. www.aclu.org

A NOBLE Perspective: Racial Profiling – A Symptom of Biased Based Policing
National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, May 2001. This report is a primer on the subject, and can be used as part of a training program for law enforcement. www.noblenatl.org

Community - Centered Policing: A Force for Change
A Report by Policy Link, Maya Harris West, Principal Author. This report demonstrates how policing represents a true partnership between police departments and the communities they serve has succeeded in large and small cities all over the nation. www.policylink.org/democracy/police_ accountability.html


Resources Continues

3. Address of the President to the Joint Session of Congress, George W. Bush, United States President, February 27, 2001.


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