Racial Profiling Policy

  • I. POLICY STATEMENT

    It is the policy of the Prosper ISD Police Department to give equal treatment, under the law, to all people, regardless of race, color, religion, sex, politics, national origin, lifestyle, or similar characteristics. The officers of the Prosper ISD Police Department will only stop or detain citizens when reasonable suspicion or probable cause exists to believe they have committed, are committing, or are about to commit a violation of the law, or for other lawful purposes. Officers of the Prosper ISD Police Department are strictly prohibited from initiating any action that constitutes racial or biased-based profiling.

     

    II. PURPOSE

    The purpose of this document is to give practical meaning to the Department Policy by establishing procedures to ensure that racial profiling, or other bias-based profiling, is not found in the practices of the Department.

     

    III. DEFINITIONS

    A. Race or Ethnicity: Of a particular decent, including Caucasian, African, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, or Middle Eastern.

     

    B. Bias-based Profiling: The detention, interdiction, search, or seizure of any person based solely upon the person’s age, gender, sexual orientation, race, color, creed, ethnicity, national origin, or similar personal characteristic.

     

    C. 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.

     

    D. Reasonable Suspicion: Specific facts and circumstances, and reasonable inferences from those facts and circumstances that would lead a person of reasonable prudence to believe that some type of criminal activity is afoot, and the detainee are somehow involved.

     

    E. Motor Vehicle Stop: An occasion in which a peace officer stops a motor vehicle for an alleged violation of a law or ordinance.

     

    F. Detention: Any restriction upon a person's liberty imposed by a peace officer.

     

    G. Seizure: Any taking of property from an individual without the individual's consent or any restriction of an individual's liberty without the individual's consent. A detention will be considered a seizure, as will an arrest.

     

    H. Acts Constituting Racial Profiling: Acts initiating law enforcement action, such as a motor vehicle 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.

     

    IV. PROCEDURES

    A. Public Information

    The Department will inform the public of its policy against racial profiling and the process by which a citizen may make a complaint against a department employee. Initially the public will be informed through the news media, with additional efforts to educate the public about the policy and the complaint process made during presentations to civic groups, and by including information on the Prosper ISD Police Department internet site and in the Department lobby.

     

    B. Stops / Detentions

    In the absence of specific facts that establish, at a minimum, reasonable suspicion to believe that an individual is involved in criminal activity, a person’s gender, sexual orientation, race, color, creed, ethnicity, national origin, or similar personal characteristic, or any combination of these, shall not be the sole factor in determining probable cause for an arrest or reasonable suspicion for a motor vehicle stop.

     

    C. Data Collection

    Officers are required to collect information relating to all motor vehicle stops in which an arrest is made or a citation is issued documenting the following required data:

    The race or ethnicity of the individual detained,

    Whether or not a search was conducted,

    Whether or not the search was conducted by consent, and

    Whether the officer knew the race or ethnicity of the individual detained before detaining that individual.

    D. Motor Vehicle Recording (MVR) Equipment.

    1. All marked patrol vehicles are equipped with video cameras. The video and sound shall be activated before all motor vehicle stops, to record the actions of the vehicle and/or behavior of the person, and shall remain activated until the person is released.

    2. Patrol Officers are responsible for ensuring that the mobile video recording equipment is fully operational throughout their tour of duty. Any equipment failures or repairs needed should be immediately reported to the on-duty shift supervisor.

    3. Audio/Visual recordings will be maintained for the purpose of documenting motor vehicle stops for a period of ninety (90) days before being purged. If a complaint is filed alleging racial profiling, the audio and video record of the stop will be retained until the final disposition of the complaint. When a pocket audio recorder is used, the audiotape will be handled in the same manner.

     

    E. Reporting

    The Chief of Police shall submit an annual report of the information collected to the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement.

     

    F. Complaint Process

    1. Any individual who believes that a peace officer employed by this Department has engaged in racial profiling with respect to the individual, may file a complaint with any supervisor of the Department.

    2. In accordance with Article 2.132(f) of the Code of Criminal Procedures, a member who is the subject of a racial profiling complaint will be provided a copy of the recording of the motor vehicle stop in question, upon written request by the officer.

    3. The complaint will be received, processed, investigated, and adjudicated in accordance with the Prosper ISD Police Department’s Administrative Investigations policy.