SPD releases racial profiling statistics

The 2011 racial profiling statistics for the Sweetwater Police Department (SPD) were presented during the February 2012 regular meeting of the City Commission by Sweetwater Police Chief Jim Kelley.According to the written report, racial profiling is defined as "a law enforcement-initiated action based on an individual's race...rather than on the individual's behavior or on information identifying the individual as having engaged in criminal activity [and] pertains to persons who are viewed as suspects or potential suspects of criminal activity.""When an office initiates a contact with someone," stated Kelley in the document, "we require that the officer complete and submit a Racial Profiling form, which allows us to track certain information." The report was broken down into five graphs. Four of them note the overall total persons stopped, which is broken down by race. The overall total is also split by gender, and then each gender is dissected into ethnic categories. In the year of 2011, a total of 1,693 people were stopped. This number is slightly down from 2010, when 1,729 people were contacted by SPD.From the 1,693 people, Caucasians made up the majority at 55.30%, or 937 people. A little over one-third (36.40%) were Hispanic with 616 people noted, followed by African-Americans as 129 people, totaling 7.60%, were stopped.Though percentages were too small to be noted, 5 Middle-Easterns were contacted, while 3 Native Americans and 2 Asians were stopped.The total number of 1,639 was then separated into gender, as 1,009 contacts were male and 684 were female.Again, Caucasians made up over half of the 1,009 male stops, as 55.50%--or 560--males were reportedly stopped. Hispanics followed with 34.70% males stopped, totaling 351. 9.10% of African-Americans, or 92 males, were reported.Rounding out the male category were 2 Asians, 2 Middle-Easterners and 1 Native American as being stopped in the past year.For females, the 684 stops were made up with Caucasians as the majority with 55.10%, or 377. Trailing behind were Hispanics at 38.10% with 265 females, and African-Americans followed at 7.60%--or 37--females being stopped.The female category concluded as 3 Middle-Easterners, 2 Native Americans and no Asians were stopped by SPD for the past year.The final graph highlights the 2011 student data review of SISD (Sweetwater Independent School District). In a contrast to the persons stopped, Hispanics led the district population at 49.80%--almost half--with 1,168 students. Caucasians barely trailed behind with 41.20%, or 967 students, and then a stark drop is noted with African-American students as 6.70%, or 157 students, were reported.The Asian category had 0.20%, or 4 students, reported in the district; Native Americans also totaled at 0.20%, or 4 students. No Middle-Eastern or Native Hawaiian/other Pacific Islander students were reported.Locally, the Racial Profiling Policy for Sweetwater was adopted by the City Commission in November 2001. The presentation of the Racial Profiling report complies with requirements from five articles (Articles 2.131-2.136) within the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, which forbids peace officers in the state to engage in racial profiling.