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Police And Racial Profiling Essay

2178 words - 9 pages


The term “racial profiling” is used by agencies of law enforcement to describe an individual’s race or ethnicity as a factor in articulating reasonable suspicion to stop, question, or arrest an individual (Racial Profiling 2001: 1). Police officers have the discretion to make decisions regarding whom they stop. However, if any law enforcement employee profiles potential suspects based on their race or ethnicity they violate the civil rights of the individual. If you suspect someone of a crime based on their race and ethnicity you are violating the civil rights of these minority groups. If any officer suspects another officer of racial profiling they must notify their supervisor. When a situation like this comes up an officer who informs on one of his own could result in negative consequences for the whistleblower. He could be labeled by the other officers as a ’rat’ and could lead him to be singled out. There are a lot of gray areas within the issue of racial profiling. The State of Arizona and its political subdivisions cannot tolerate racial profiling if Arizona is to remain consistent and fair in its application of justice (AZ Attorney General, 2001:2). In this article I will discuss law enforcement concerns, private resident concerns, current policies and procedures, and training. I believe that police officers need to stop people they suspect of an offence [it is not the role of the police officer to decide guilt –that is a matter for the courts] to reduce the amount of crime offenders, but they need to be careful that they do not cross the fine line between racial profiling and suspicion. The purpose of this article is to inform readers that police discretion not only encompasses use of force, gratuities, or domestic violence responses, but that police officers also have discretionary choices when police profiling is offered to them. Community policing broadens the nature and number of police functions compared with traditional policing. It emphasizes organizational change, active problem solving, and external partnerships to address issues that concern both the police and citizens. Community policing shifts the focus of policing by placing equal emphasis on crime control, order maintenance, and service. By providing better training for police officers with the issues of police profiling will make the police officers more aware of police profiling.

A major concern for many law enforcement agencies is the effect of not stopping individuals they feel are suspicious, because of racial profiling. They also argue that due to the increase of concerns in regards to racial profiling it might cause police officers from stopping crimes in progress (AZ Attorney General, 2001:2). The ethical issue that arises is that some officers fear retaliation for telling supervisors about others who profile based on race; others fear that data collected in stops could be misused to punish law enforcement personnel. The...

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