July 3, 2003
Law Enforcement and Racial Profiling Workshop
Compiled by Erin Eggers
A report contributed by
- Dee Al-Mohammed,University
of Missouri-Columbia School of Law
- Leigh E. Herbst, Asst Professor at University of
- Gary Maddox, Director of Law Enforcement Training Institute
To compare statewide stop records, go the Attorney General’s
website. While the numbers of Latinos who have been stopped seem
significantly high in some areas of rural Missouri,
the numbers are down from the 2000 report.
We need to stress accountability for racial profiling and monitor police stops
to promote sustainable, effective change.
Racial profiling from the officers and Latino perspective
- Number of vehicle stops has been reduced. If there is any
hesitation, it’s because of racial profiling. They don’t want
their stats to look like they are stopping a lot of Hispanics.
statistics. Officers will check
the white male box, especially if the person has a non-Hispanic last
- Accusations of discrimination. Officers are afraid
of being accused of violating someone’s rights.
- Population as a
baseline is inaccurate. The census is only taken every
10 years. There is a perception that many Latinos are undocumented,
which affects the true population. Latino residents’ work mobility
alters the population.
- Night shift officers cannot visibly determine
driver race or ethnicity.
- Disproportionate traffic offenses. New
immigrants are not well-educated on basic
rules. (Ex: in Missouri,
every car needs 2 license plates.)
- Language Barrier. Drivers are unable to ask about stops, searches,
etc. They are confused about issued tickets/summons, and they feel
there is no recourse
to dispute tickets/summons.
- Often you are stopped because you’re Latino.
- Latinos are not likely to complain to police.
- Often calls to police are the result of a simple
misunderstanding. (Ex: noise violation)
For communicating with Law Enforcement on Racial Profiling:
- Establish trust between Latinos and Law Enforcement
experiences with Law Enforcement
- Set up Task Forces- combination of
Latino residents and leader and law enforcement
- Access to Racial Profiling reports
- Access to bilingual material, specifically Missouri drivers
license manuals and city ordinances and statutes
- “Welcome to
our town” videos, with tips and expectations in
Who are the police officers?
17,000-18,000 in the state of Missouri -
includes city, county, university, water patrol, highway patrol,
and park rangers.
There are currently more men than women, but the number of women
joining has skyrocketed in recent years.
It’s a young person’s profession: most are between 21-33 years
Officers go through training but little time is spent on communication
skills or diversity training. However, communication is one of the most important
aspects of the job. A police officer is paid to enforce
the law and maintain peace.
In order to communicate well, both the public and police officers
-be on guard
-be specific and direct when asked questions
There are no specific requirements for passengers when
a driver is stopped. A stop should not take long unless it’s an
arrest. If it is, the driver should say nothing without
The caliber, quality, and dedication of the police force is
much better than it was 30 years ago. It is more diverse
in terms of gender, racially, and ethnically.