Mineral Wells Index, Mineral Wells, TX

February 22, 2013

MWPD chief says racial profiling not a problem


Mineral Wells Index

— By CHRIS AGEE



Mineral Wells Police Chief Dean Sullivan provided his agency's annual racial profiling report to members of the Mineral Wells City Council at Tuesday's meeting.

The report is a requirement of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure and includes data pertaining to the race or ethnicity of individuals stopped for traffic violations and cited, searched, or arrested.

According to the report, MWPD officers stopped 1,224 vehicles in 2012. Caucasians made up about 75 percent of those stops.

Hispanics account for the majority of the remaining incidents and officers stopped 48 individuals of African ethnicity.

Those statistics roughly match the racial makeup of the community and Sullivan explained to city government he found no indication officers showed any signs of racial profiling after studying the data.

The report found officers were aware of a subject's race or ethnicity prior to conducting a stop in only 13 of the 1,224 stops.

Officers conducted 61 searches during 2012 and arrested 74 individuals as a result of a stop.

Hispanics made up one-third of those searched and almost 38 percent of those arrested. More than 58 percent were Caucasian and about 8 percent were Black, the report indicated.

Sullivan released a general order last year dealing with the issue of racial profiling within the agency.

The order included guidelines to avoid profiling and penalties up to and including termination for officers who violate the policy.

According to the procedures set forth in the order, officers cannot take a person's race, ethnicity or gender into consideration in deciding to make a stop unless it is in pursuit of a specific report containing a physical description.

The guidelines also dictated that officers keep accurate statistical information.

Department guidelines also include proactive training in officer safety, courtesy, cultural diversity and other areas of communication.

Sullivan said there were no reports of racial profiling and no interdepartmental investigations into any such complaints during 2012.