Sulphur Springs Police Chief Jim Bayuk said Tuesday no racial profiling complaints were filed against his officers for the second straight year in 2008.
Bayuk made the announcement while presenting the "Annual Report Regarding Traffic Stops and Action Taken" during Tuesday night's regular monthly council meeting.
"Not at one time during the year of '08 did we have somebody come in and file a racial profiling complaint," Bayuk told council members. "What's nice is that this is the second year in a row we haven't had somebody call and complain on racial profiling, so I'm pretty pleased."
State law requires all law enforcement agencies in Texas to enact policies prohibiting their officers from engaging in racial profiling, or stopping or detaining someone based solely on that person's ethnicity.
Each Sulphur Springs officer has undergone specialized training to educate officers on issues related to racial profiling. The department has also installed video and audio recording equipment in patrol vehicles used to make traffic stops, in part to ensure compliance with the department's policies and state law.
Videotapes are kept on file for about 90 days, Bayuk said, and are periodically reviewed by the department's secretary and others.
"We've been very pleased with the traffic stops," Bayuk said.
The number of times Caucasians and African Americans are stopped is about in line with their representation as a percentage of the city's population.
For example, Caucasians made up 80.6 percent of the city's populace in the 2000 Census. In 2008, they were the subject of 77.4 percent of the traffic stops.
African Americans constituted 14.3 percent of the 2000 Census on Sulphur Springs. Last year, they accounted for 11.4 percent of stops.
Hispanics were identified as being the subject of 10.8 percent of all traffic stops, above the 8.2 percent of the local population in 2000. Census estimates since 2000, however, project that the Hispanic population has grown significantly, which may explain the difference in percentages.
Hispanics were also more likely than whites or African Americans to receive a citation when pulled over.
Of the 5,672 stops involving Caucasians, 3,147 were issued citations, or 55 percent. African Americans were stopped 837 times and issued citations in 422 of the stops, or 50.4 percent of the time.
Hispanics, however, were pulled over 792 times and written citations in 497 of those, or 63 percent.
Compared to the rate at which they were the subject of traffic stops or detentions, African Americans tended to be the subject of more searches.
While accounting for 11.4 percent of all detentions, they accounted for 22 percent of all searches.
Caucasians accounted for 186 of the 275 searches conducted, or 67.6 percent of all searches. Hispanics, meanwhile, were searched 28 times, or 10.18 percent of the total.
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