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Professional Police Traffic Stops: Strategies to Address Racial Profiling

NCJ Number
FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin Volume: 69 Issue: 11 Dated: November 2000 Pages: 8-10
Grady Carrick
Date Published
November 2000
3 pages
Professional police traffic stops represent the approach that law enforcement agencies should use to respond to racial profiling; these stops entail a three-dimensional approach to ensure that police officers base their behavior on sound legal reason, safety for police and citizens, and the accepted standards of modern policing.
The three ingredients necessary for implementing professional police traffic stops are organizational policy, officer training, and data collection. Agencies must develop a well-structured policy concerning professional traffic stops, outlining the conduct of police officers and prohibiting discriminatory practices. Involving decision-makers and managers in policy development ensures that the agency leader works from complete and accurate information and assumptions. Leadership from the top of the organization is essential. Including discussions about racial profiling into diversity and refresher training also proves beneficial. In addition, police agencies must offer a skeptical public statistics comparing traffic stop demographics with population demographics to confirm that the agency does not practice racial profiling. Proposed Federal legislation lists the topics that data collection should cover. Many jurisdictions already voluntarily collect traffic stop statistics. Implementing a strategy to address racial profiling will move agencies closer to professionalism and strengthen the bond of trust between the public and the police. Author photograph