Issues surrounding race in America, and, specifically, racial profiling have been highly visible and volatile. After several high profile allegations of racial profiling in the 1990s, many law enforcement practitioners and academics made a concerted effort to better understand and address bias-based policing behavior, and to change perceptions among those in the community that resulted from that behavior. A key to improving the perceptions about bias-based policing is for law enforcement agencies to develop mutual trust between and respect for the communities they serve. Developing effective systems and tools to prevent and respond to bias-based policing can help law enforcement maintain that mutual trust and respect. Many law enforcement agencies have implemented community policing practices to work with key stakeholders in the community on addressing allegations and perceptions of profiling, while others have been proactive in implementing training.
Since 1996, the COPS Office has invested approximately $70 million to promote and advance ethics and integrity through our COPS Police Integrity Initiative. The overall goal of this initiative is to meet emerging and changing law enforcement needs by assisting agencies in creating or strengthening local programs that build trust between police and their communities, as well as helping law enforcement agencies address integrity related issues, such as racial profiling, through internal mechanisms. Ongoing strategies include identifying and disseminating best practices, producing publications, developing model problem-solving partnerships, and delivering national training and technical assistance.
Because of the importance of understanding and preventing racially bias policing, COPS has funded several publications that provide guidance to law enforcement executives, elected officials, and analysts to ensure the responsible analysis and interpretation of vehicle stop data. Below are summaries of COPS-funded racial profiling publications:
A Suggested Approach to Analyzing Racial Profiling: Sample Templates for Analyzing Car-Stop Data
Decisions regarding the merits of racial profiling concerns are important and should not be based on either anecdotal evidence or incomplete analysis. This pamphlet describes the general approaches used, and illustrates them with sample templates of the analytical output. These templates represent examples of how to display and evaluate results from various methods of analysis.
By the Numbers
PERF and the COPS Office partnered to provide guidance needed to ensure the responsible analysis and interpretation of vehicle stop data. This detailed how-to guide for analyzing race data from vehicle stops provides a social science framework for understanding the challenges of trying to measure racial bias in policing and presents methods for law enforcement professionals, researchers, and other stakeholders to consider when interpreting the vehicle-stop data.
COPS Evaluation Brief No. 1: Promoting Cooperative Strategies to Reduce Racial Profiling
This evaluation is an examination of the successes and challenges encountered by the COPS-funded Promoting Cooperative Strategies to Reduce Racial Profiling grantees. As the federal leader in police integrity, this document will further the COPS Office success in helping law enforcement agencies continue to provide a high level of public safety while respecting the rights of all individuals they serve.
COPS Evaluation Brief No. 3: Creating A Culture of Integrity
This evaluation is an examination of the successes and challenges of the COPS grant program “Creating A Culture of Integrity.” As the federal leader in police integrity, this document will further the COPS Office success in helping law enforcement agencies continue to provide a high level of public safety while respecting the rights of all individuals they serve.
How to Correctly Collect and Analyze Racial Profiling Data: Your Reputation Depends On It!
This publication is the result of a COPS-funded project conducted by the CNA Corporation (CNAC) to help law enforcement agencies collect and analyze data. How to Correctly Collect and Analyze Racial Profiling Data: Your Reputation Depends on It! is particularly timely as more and more states mandate that law enforcement agencies collect traffic stop data. As part of this project, CNAC worked with the Baltimore (MD) Police Department, the Phoenix (AZ) Police Department, the Chattanooga (TN) Police Department, and the St. Paul (MN) Police Department, all of which are highlighted in the document along with the Oakland (CA) Police Department.
Mediating Citizen Complaints Against Police Officers: A Guide For Police And Community Leaders
This guide addresses the implementation, expectations, and evaluation of police/citizen mediation programs. It addresses how to overcome obstacles to mediation such as police and citizen resistance. Key issues discussed include eligibility, cultural barriers, and creating a level playing field. The guide presents examples of successful mediation processes for communities thinking about developing a mediation program.
Protecting Civil Rights: A Leadership Guide for State, Local, and Tribal Law Enforcement
The effectiveness of the police depends on the trust and confidence of the community. If individuals' civil rights are compromised, public trust and confidence in the police are severely compromised. Prepared by the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), the guide is a comprehensive overview of the civil rights issues and challenges faced by law enforcement leaders. It describes the process by which agencies with alleged pattern or practice civil rights violations are investigated and monitored and offers lessons learned, resources, and strategies for protecting and promoting citizens' civil rights.
Racially Biased Policing: A Principled Response
This report, funded by COPS and produced by PERF, will assist agencies in meeting the challenge of eradicating racially biased policing. It provides the first step in assisting law enforcement professionals, in collaboration with the community, to consider the issues and develop approaches for their community's specific needs. The report guides law enforcement agencies in their response to racially biased policing and to the perceptions of its practice, thereby helping to strengthen citizen confidence in the police and improve police services in the community.
Racially Biased Policing: Guidance for Analyzing Race Data from Vehicle Stops Executive Summary
The Executive Summary describes two COPS- and PERF-produced publications about responsible analysis and interpretation of vehicle stop data. The publications are "By the Numbers" and "Understanding Race Data from Vehicle Stops: A Stakeholder's Guide." The guides discuss the challenge of benchmarking, various benchmarking options that jurisdictions can choose, and how to interpret the research results responsibly.
Understanding Race Data from Vehicle Stops: A Stakeholder’s Guide
This guide, funded by COPS and produced by PERF, addresses the same topics as "By the Numbers," but is written for policy makers who will make or have an impact on the decisions regarding data collection as a response to concerns about racial bias in policing their jurisdiction. This guide will provide realistic expectations about vehicle stop data and describe the ways that the data could be analyzed.