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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 220741 Find in a Library
Title: Eliminate Race as the Only Reason for Police-Citizen Encounters
Journal: Criminology & Public Policy  Volume:6  Issue:4  Dated:November 2007  Pages:671-678
Author(s): Geoffrey P. Alpert
Date Published: November 2007
Page Count: 8
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis; Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This essay discusses the need for a policy that ensures accountability for officer actions in multiethnic environments that carry the potential for the perception, if not the reality, of selective enforcement based on race/ethnicity (racial profiling), which undermines respect for and cooperation with police.
Abstract: Racial profiling means that an officer initiates contact with a person (traffic stop or pedestrian stop) based on an observable racial or ethnic characteristic of the person, without regard to whether the person has engaged in behavior that causes the officer to have reasonable suspicion that the person has violated a law. It can also mean that officers selectively concentrate their law enforcement activities on certain minority racial/ethnic groups while majority racial/ethnic lawbreakers do not receive equal attention. Research findings show that many law enforcement agencies have officers who may be engaged in racial/ethnic profiling. Research further shows that such profiling is not an efficient, effective, or responsible policing strategy. In order to reduce such officer behavior, agencies must monitor their officers' actions overall and compared with one another. A comparison of the characteristics of individuals and circumstances involved in officers' interventions will provide police supervisors and managers with the information necessary to determine whether certain officers are stopping, searching, or arresting minority citizens at a rate different from other officers who are working similar jobs in the same areas at the same time. Officers whose actions are significantly different from those of other officers can be placed in an Early Identification System. These officers will then be reviewed for potential problem behaviors that are subject to monitoring and correction. 24 references
Main Term(s): Police management
Index Term(s): Accountability; Police discretion; Police-minority relations; Profiling; Racial discrimination; Research uses in policymaking
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