Dallas PD: No Racial Profiling Here

Categories: Crime
2010TrafficContactData.JPG
From the Dallas Police Department's 2010 Police Traffic Contact Data Report
City Hall and most other municipal facilities are closed till Tuesday, furlough day and President's Day and all. Which means council briefings normally posted on Friday night went live last night, including this one that'll be presented to the Public Safety Committee on Tuesday: 2010 Dallas Police Department Traffic Contact Data Annual Report, which looks at how many traffic stops DPD made last year -- and, more to the point, who DPD pulled over in 2010.

As Chief David Brown writes in his dear-citizens letter dated yesterday, the ninth annual report "provides an overview of contacts, distributed by race, and arrests and searches resulting from those traffic contacts." It also looks at how many of those pulled over complained to Internal Affairs alleging racial profiling -- and, says the doc, out of the 198,608 "documented traffic contacts" charted above, only 10 complaints were filed. And, according to the report, eight of those were ruled "unfounded," while the other two remain under investigation. (Matter of fact, according to DPD all allegations of racial profiling since 2007 have been "unfounded" or "not sustained.")

"We are confident that the information contained in this report will serve as further evidence of our commitment to fair and equitable treatment of all citizens," Brown writes, "and that it will serve as a foundation to strengthen our bond with our community."
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Thareason
Thareason

I work in a county position and I highly doubt that this data includes the number of misclassifications that occurs daily and frequently. over 65 percent of hispanics booked into lew strerrett and booked in under "white" further skewing the numbers...so I bet good money the discrepancies are greater than they appear...if you think i'm kidding go to the county jail site, type in common initials and search under white and see how many hispanics and blacks are booked in under those racial categories.....i'm not convinced....

No snitchin yo
No snitchin yo

if the police ARE NOT "profiling" black and Latino males, then the police are being NEGLIGENT.

At least 63% of all homicides in Dallas are committed by blacks and latinos (probably lots more than that - NO SNITCHIN YO!).

http://www.dallascityhall.com/...

Homicides in Dallas Texas - 2008

Race of Suspect - # of Homicides - PercentageWhite - 9 = 6%Black - 72 = 47%Hispanic - 24 = 16%Unknown - 49 = 32%

Therefore, even if the every single one of the 49 "unknown" murderers were whites, the "known" black murderers would still outnumber them!!!!! 

To really put it in the proper perspective:

http://www.city-data.com/city/...

Dallas Population Racial Data:

Hispanic - 547,781 (44.6%)White - 355,922 (29.0%)Black - 274,087 (22.3%)

Therefore, if the police ARE NOT "profiling" black and Latino males, then the police are being NEGLIGENT. 

Diana Powe
Diana Powe

Speaking as someone with over 30 years of policing, profiling is not only racist but ineffective as a police tactic. That would be even more true in the case of homicides.

No Snitchin
No Snitchin

And I think you are full of suit and are blatantly trying to deny the most obvious facts of reality.

Diana Powe
Diana Powe

You may think anything you like and hurl childish insults all you want from behind your wall of anonymity.

scottindallas
scottindallas

furthermore, considering the number of false arrests, it's not crazy to imagine that "blacks" are more likely falsely convicted of murder--in fact, I bet it's a pretty strong trend

No snitchin yo
No snitchin yo

Speaking as someone who is fully aware of the facts and crime rates, Diana, I think you are full of shit.

Diana Powe
Diana Powe

The best proxy for the driving population in a given area has been identified as the not-at-fault drivers involved in traffic crashes within that area. As not-at-fault drivers they're randomly selected. However, many agencies, including the Dallas Police Department, don't report a large number of non-injury crashes. In fact, DPD often doesn't even respond to many non-injury crashes so that's not available either.

carphead
carphead

92% of traffic stops of middle easterners results in a custofy arrest. That's amazing. Profiling is starting to make more sense.

Anonymous
Anonymous

this is lazy use of statistics and the reason that people can use something like this make their cause seem legit. Middle Easterners are too small relative to the sample size to draw conclusions from their numbers in this case.

Diana Powe
Diana Powe

Absolutely correct.

scottindallas
scottindallas

you may or may not be correct (though I agree with your point,) though since Middle Easterners are "white" officially, the stats may miss many ME contacts. So, the data is even more worthless.

Jean Val Jean
Jean Val Jean

So.. if my rudimentary math is right... Whites outnumbered by far the other races "contacted"..but only 2.2% had searches. While 4.3% of African-Americans had them, and 4.84% of Hispanics.

Diana Powe
Diana Powe

I spent more than two years of my career with the Richardson Police Department as the department's crime analyst. As part of my duties, I worked on this issue after the Legislature mandated the gathering of this contact data. While racial profiling, to the extent it happens, is clearly wrong, there is so simply no way whatsoever to prove or disprove it with statistics like this. It's simple to gather data about contacts. The problem is what do you compare that data to?

It's not meaningful to just compare it to the proportion of any given group in a city's population because a substantial portion of people stopped don't reside in the city gathering the data. Vehicle ownership doesn't help because it's not spread evenly across economic groups. Driver license issuance is more accurate but doesn't address the number of people who drive without a license. What's actually needed is a racial breakdown of the population driving in the area under study. However, that data is not available. There have been attempts to gather it through traffic surveillance, but that runs afoul of the fact that multiple factors confound trying to ascertain the race of any given driver.

The goal of eliminating any racial profiling is worthwhile. Using these statistics as a tool to accomplish it doesn't work.

crispinTx
crispinTx

Would a countywide rollup of these statistics be more useful? That could then allow the comparison to the county population. You would still have people residing from outside the county, but there would be less of them.

Diana Powe
Diana Powe

That's an excellent question and is something we considered. We also considered the Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA). However, there's still a wide possible disparity between the resident population of a larger area and the driving population in the area of study. If racial profiling were genuinely taking place (this is purely a hypothetical) among some officers of DPD's Southeast Division, for example, what you need to know is what the racial breakdown of the driving population that the officers in that division actually see as they are patrolling. However, because of modern mobility and arterial roadways, you can't just say that the people driving there to be potentially seen are the people living there. It can be an estimate, but it's still nowhere near the standard to be able to say definitively that racial profiling is taking place.

Guest
Guest

That might be less insightful in a city that's on the edge of another county that also has at least one major highway running through it.

Because police contact isn't really random, it can be very difficult to get the statistics to prove or disprove what we want to know.

Diana Powe
Diana Powe

That's exactly true. In fact, even if racial profiling were taking place, it's entirely possible that it would be at a rate that would be hard to pick out from the random noise in the data.

Anonymous
Anonymous

I have no opinion about the conclusions to be drawn from this data, but why would they rely on self-reported incidents to figure out whether there was racial profiling going on? If you believe that you were racially profiled (whether it actually happened or not), by definition, you are skeptical of the fairness of the police force. I'm no conspiracy theorist, but I think complaining to the police about the conduct of one of their own puts a target on your back.

John_McKee
John_McKee

Is the police chief talking about the same data I'm looking at because the one I am looking at says that even though african-americans make up about half the population of whites they are almost as likely to get pulled over, almost twice as likely to be searched, and although they are 10% more likely to be arrested (I'd like to see conviction rates on that), that means that although they are searched more, more searches are unsuccessful at finding anything to arrest them on.

I don't see how this reflects positively on the police department, but maybe I am missing something.To summerize, if you are African-American in Dallas you are almost twice as likely to get pulled over, twice as likely to get searched but only about a 10% more likely to be arrested.

TimCov
TimCov

I wonder what these numbers would look like if you also broke down the numbers by socio-economic background.

Diana Powe
Diana Powe

That would probably show more poor people as they're more likely to be driving a car with expired registration or an expired inspection sticker.

scottindallas
scottindallas

Diane, I appreciate you perspective. It seems to me that the police really prey on the poor. Whether intentional or not--and, considering the whole mess with tickets and accelerating fees cops are coming pretty close to running debtor's prisons. I've tried to engage friends who are officers about up coming cuts to the cops programs on state and federal levels--I think it might be good and force officers to focus their efforts more on keeping the streets safe.

cp
cp

They are consensual searches. Maybe they want to show they have nothing to hide?

Guest
Guest

There's a potential element of profiling even in consensual searches in that police officers don't ask to search everybody they pull over.

I can't imagine there are too many people who get pulled over and, as they're about to be sent on their way without a search, ask the police officer to search their car because they have nothing to hide.

scottindallas
scottindallas

I always refuse and they laugh and search anyway. It's happened every time, and it usually results in them being as dickish as possible. You have no civil rights--welcome to TX justice, you can beat the rap, but you can't beat the ride.

Diana Powe
Diana Powe

A huge percentage of requests for consent to search are related to the utterly wasteful "war" on drugs.

Mrwiizrd
Mrwiizrd

@ John_McKee & Suburban Idiot

While I understand your logic completely, your points are pretty damn depressing and a testament to degree that our nation has become a police state.

There's no way I'm just going relinquish my constitutionally protected rights because of a slight chance that I might encounter a dirty or a dick cop.

I will be polite and I will be respectful, but I will also exercise my rights.

Guest
Guest

The problem with asking for a warrant is that you never know when you're dealing with one of the dirty cops.

And since there's usually no punishment for lying under oath if you're a police officer (look at Dallas Officer Robert Powell who was given a pass for outright lying under oath by the soft-on-crime Denton County D.A. His testimony was contradicted by his own voice on his dashcam tape), if they want to search your car, they can just make up some probable cause.

And if they don't find anything, I would imagine the chances for reprimand are even lower.

The Mailman
The Mailman

I agree with Mr Wizard. I have nothing to hide but if I was asked to consent to a search I'd have to politely decline. It's never happened to me and I'd like to think that the cops won't want to search your vehicle unless they have a reason.

John_McKee
John_McKee

@mrwiizrd

Because it could piss off a possibly already dickish cop off who can come up with fun new ways to screw with you. I hate to say this because I know how terrible it sounds when talking about rights but if I'm in my car I have stuff to be doing, I know chances are pretty good they are going to be able to get the warrant, even if they need to make up reasons to do it.

Mrwiizrd
Mrwiizrd

What I can't understand is why anyone would ever consent to a search. Nothing good can possibly come from it, ever.

If they want to search your car, politely ask them to get a warrant.

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