Senate Bill 1849, also referred to as the “Sandra Bland Act,” was passed in 2017 and took effect on January 1, 2018. This law requires that systematic data be collected from police contacts resulting from motor vehicle stops. In accordance with the Texas Racial Profiling law, this department has enacted a detailed Racial Profiling policy (see below) that prohibits any officer from engaging in racial or biased profiling. In addition, our officers attend mandatory training in racial profiling, de-escalation, and cultural diversity.
We recognize the importance of collecting and analyzing this information to ensure compliance with applicable statutes. We also believe that transparency serves to improve both the public perception of and trust in the police.
Each year, this agency collects information regarding routine traffic stops, and this data is analyzed, addressing the categories outlined in the charts below. Any person who wishes to file a complaint of possible racial or biased profiling should contact Internal Affairs at 713-475-7045.
C4.91 RACIAL / BIAS BASED PROFILING POLICY (TBP: 2.01)
It is the policy of this department to police in a proactive manner and to investigate suspected violations of the law. Members shall actively enforce federal, state, and local laws in a responsible and professional manner, without regard to race, ethnic background, gender, sexual orientation, religion, economic status, age, cultural group, or any other identifiable group. Members are strictly prohibited from engaging in racial/biased profiling as defined in this policy. This policy shall be applicable to all persons, whether drivers, passenger, or pedestrians. The department will adhere with the requirements of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure that prohibits Texas peace officers from engaging in racial profiling. Enforcement of the law will be done without regard to race, ethnicity, or national origin.
Members shall conduct themselves in a dignified and respectful manner at all times when dealing with the public. Two of the fundamental rights guaranteed by both the United States and Texas constitutions are equal protection under the law and freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures by government agents. The right of all persons to be treated equally and to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures must be respected. Racial/ethnicity profiling is an unacceptable patrol tactic and will not be condoned.
This policy shall not preclude officers from offering assistance, such as upon observing a substance leaking from a vehicle, flat tire, or someone who appears to be ill, lost, or confused. Nor does this policy prohibit stopping someone suspected of a crime based upon observed actions and/or information received about the person.
Racial/bias based profiling pertains to persons who are viewed as suspects or potential suspects of criminal behavior. The term is not relevant as it pertains to witnesses, complainants, or other citizen contacts.
The prohibition against racial/bias based profiling does not preclude the use of race, ethnicity, or national origin as factors in a detention decision. Race, ethnicity, or national origin may be legitimate factors in a detention decision when used as part of an actual description of a specific suspect for whom an officer is searching. Detaining an individual and conducting an inquiry into that person’s activities simply because of that individual’s race, ethnic background, gender, sexual orientation, religion, economic status, age, cultural group, or any other identifiable group is racial/bias based profiling.
Examples of racial/bias based profiling include, but are not limited to the following:
1) Citing a driver who is speeding in a stream of traffic where most other drivers are speeding because of the cited driver’s race, ethnic background, gender, sexual orientation, religion, economic status, age, cultural group, or any other identifiable group.
2) Detaining the driver of a vehicle based on the determination that person of that race, ethnic background, gender, sexual orientation, religion, economic status, age, cultural group, or any other identifiable group is unlikely to own or possess that specific make or model of vehicle.
3) Detaining an individual based upon the determination that a person of that race, ethnic background, gender, sexual orientation, religion, economic status, age, cultural group, or any other identifiable group does not belong in a specific part of town or a specific place.
C4.91.1 RACIAL / BIAS BASED PROFILING COMPLAINTS
1) The department shall accept complaints from any person who believes he or she has been stopped or searched based on racial/bias based profiling. No person shall be discouraged, intimidated, or coerced from filing a complaint, nor discriminated against because he or she has filed such a complaint.
2) Any member who receives an allegation of racial/bias based profiling, including the officer who initiated the stop, shall record the person’s name, address, and telephone number, and forward the complaint through the appropriate channel. All members will report any allegation of racial/bias based profiling to a supervisor before the end of their shift.
3) Investigation of a complaint shall be conducted in a thorough and timely manner. All complaints will be acknowledged in writing to the complainant who will receive disposition regarding said complaint within a reasonable amount of time. The investigation shall be reduced to writing.
4) If a racial/bias based profiling complaint is sustained against a member, it will result in appropriate corrective and/or disciplinary action, up to an including termination.
5) If there is a departmental video and/or audio recording of the events upon which a complaint of racial/bias based profiling is based, upon commencement of an investigation by this department into the complaint, this department shall promptly provide a copy of the recording to that member.
C4.91.2 RACIAL / BIAS BASED PROFILING PUBLIC EDUCATION
The department will inform the public of its policy against racial/bias based profiling and the complaint process. Methods that may be utilized to inform the public are the news media, radio, service or civic presentation, departmental websites, and social media. Additionally, information will be made available in appropriate languages other than English.