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Profiling In Law Enforcment Essay

1583 words - 6 pages

Profiling in Law Enforcement

In 1931, a fight occurred on a train traveling through Alabama between African American and Caucasian boys. When the police arrived they “arrested nine of the black boys riding on the train, aged 12 to 19 years old, while the white boys were all let go. A few weeks later, Two white females claimed that they were gang raped while on the train. All nine defendants claimed innocence. Eight of the nine were convicted and sentenced to death by an all white jury. Their appeals would last over 20 years. On retrial, one of the rape victims testified that the rape was fabricated. However, the all-white juries again returned guilty verdicts” (Grimsley, 2013). Stereotyping or profiling in the investigation, prevention and persecution of crimes has had a very long history in the United States. The dispute over race, gender and socio economic profiling by law enforcement has created numerous problems for law enforcement agencies and the communities that are affected. Profiling by police is a method of investigation that “targets people for suspicion of a crime by either their gender, socioeconomic stating, ethnicity, religion, race or national origin” (National Institute of Justice [NIJ], 2013). Profiling, in this nature, can lead law enforcement officials to generalize about specific groups and act based upon that generalization rather than individual behavior. Profiling based on a certain criteria can cause several problems. The police-citizen relations, in communities where profiling has been an issue, can been severely damaged. This creates difficulty in police related work. Even though officers are trained extensively on ways to avoid employing discriminatory thoughts or belief while on duty, they still react on culturally formed prejudices and perform in lieu with their personal perceptions of certain individual's characteristics.
Profiling on basis of an individual's race is one of the most commonly practiced form of discrimination in law enforcement agencies. Profiling by racial makeup target certain individuals of different race for investigation of crime and enforcement of law. This alienates certain communities from their police departments, which greatly affect community policing efforts while causing police departments to lose trust as well as credibility among the citizens who they are sworn to protect and serve. Racial profiling has caused huge amounts of individuals to live a life of fear. It also formed a complex system of policing which identifies entire groups and communities as suspects. Racial standing still is used as a form of criminal profiling in the United States. One study showed that “during 2006-2007, the Arizona state highway patrol was significantly more likely to stop African Americans and Hispanics than Whites on all the highways studied, while Native Americans and persons of Middle Eastern descent were more likely to be stopped on nearly all the highways studied.” “The highway patrol was...

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