Stamford and Houston Adopt Strong Policies Against Racial Profiling
By Ed Somers
As the issue of racial profiling continues to raise concern, mayors are leading efforts to prevent the practice.
Stamford, Connecticut, under the leadership of Mayor Dannel P. Malloy, has adopted a strong policy which states, “This City, and our Police Department reject and will not accept any form of ‘racial profiling.’ A police officer who suspects a person of criminal behavior solely on the basis of their race is guilty of unethical and improper behavior.” The policy also clearly states that racial profiling is a violation of a person’s civil rights and against the law.
In commenting on this policy, announced as Stamford celebrated Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on January 17, 2000, Mayor Malloy said, “The state legislature has passed laws against the practice, but we thought we needed more.”
The Stamford policy goes on to state that, “the Stamford Police Department will continue to focus on effective policing strategies based on lawful and morally correct procedures, as well as building partnerships with communities and community based organizations.”
As Mayor Malloy states, “the policy was extensively negotiated with religious leaders, Civil Rights leaders and the police union.”
The city of Houston, Texas, led by Mayor Lee Brown, has also adopted a strong policy against racial profiling.
Under Houston’s initiative, adopted in August of 1999, officers are required to use their patrol car computers to enter information on the race, age and gender of all people they stop or arrest. The reports will be added to a database which will be reviewed by the Houston police chief, police managers and the department’s Internal Affairs Division.
Officers found stopping people because of their race or ethnicity could face dismissal or criminal charges.
“I never want to hear any of our citizens say they were stopped solely because of driving while black,” said Mayor Brown. “What we’re announcing is a pro-active step, a safeguard to find out if racial profiling is occurring here.”