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Bryan Police Department Makes Racial Profiling Presentation to City Council

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Racial profiling is a sensitive topic with most law enforcement agencies, especially the Bryan Police Department.
For the past few years, the department has worked with a consultant to accurately collect data.

Tuesday, the consultant gave an update to the city council on how the department is handling it.

Consultant Alex Del Carmen said one of the department's biggest areas of improvement is in collecting profiling data.

"To say they are now in a position where they can simply look back and not do anything else I would think that would be erroneous to say. There's room for improvement, but they've come a long way," said Del Carmen.

Of traffic-related contacts, 52% were caucasian, 22% African American, and 25% Hispanic. The numbers are fairly consistent to 2003.

Del Carmen recommended to the department the following: continue to provide racial profiling training for officers. Also, continue to enhance minority recruiting efforts. Third, conduct a data audit to measure validity and reliability of data being collected. And finally, conduct a follow-up study on probable cause searches.

"What I'm recommending is for them to enhance their collection mechanism. To go beyond what the law is requiring in order to be able to explain some items relative to why someone may be searched," said Del Carmen.

Bryan police said they have made policy, procedural, and personnel changes, but something else that has helped them handle racial profiling is the Citizen Advisory Committee.

"Anytime you have a policeman with a badge, a lot of Hispanic people tend to believe they're already in trouble," said Mike Flores.

Flores is on the Citizen Advisory Committee and has relayed to the department how the Hispanic community feels. Flores feels police chief Mike Strope is responding well.

"If somebody on his police staff on his staff is racial profiling or discriminating he said he would personally dismiss them because he doesn't want any profiling like that in Bryan and as far as I can see, he doesn't have it," said Flores.