What Is Racial Profiling?
Racial Profiling, by legislative definition, is any law enforcement initiated action based on an individual's race, ethnicity, or national origin rather than on the individual's behavior or on information identifying the individual as having engaged in criminal activity (Art. 3.05, Texas Code of Criminal Procedure). This law strictly prohibits any form of racial profiling by law enforcement agencies.
The 77th Texas Legislature addressed the issue of Racial Profiling by passing legislation requiring all law enforcement officers to report information to their respective agencies regarding vehicle or pedestrian contacts. Required information includes a physical description of the individual to include the person's gender and race or ethnicity. Officers will also collect data about searches they conduct, what contraband, if any, is located, and the reason for their stop or contact with a person.
Data collection of this magnitude was new for peace officers in the State of Texas and certainly in the City of Quitman. The Police Department does not wish to offend any person in our attempts to comply with Texas State law. These laws went into effect on September 1, 2001 and data collection by police departments commenced on January 1, 2002.
How Do I File a Complaint?
Our policy and the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure prohibits racial profiling and any complaints of racial profiling will be thoroughly investigated. Any person who believes they were stopped and/or searched solely because of race, ethnicity, or national origin may contact the Quitman Police Department to file a complaint.
If you feel you have been involved in an incident that may constitute racial profiling, you may submit a complaint by phone or in person. To submit a complaint by phone call 903-763-4410, call and ask to speak with a supervisor. To make a complaint in person you can come to the Quitman Police Department located at 401 South Main Street, Quitman, TX 75783.
Please Note: Intentionally filing a false complaint of racial profiling may result in criminal charges.
Racial Profiling Policy
Each law enforcement agency in the State of Texas is required by law to have a policy prohibiting racial profiling. The Quitman Police Department has made its racial profiling policy available online for public viewing. Our policy mirrors state law and calls for corrective action to occur in the event an incident of racial profiling is discovered.
In addition, we have instituted a system to track data collected from all vehicle and pedestrian stops, complaint procedures for individuals who believe they were stopped as a result of racial profiling, and a public education program designed to inform citizens about the new changes in law.
The Code of Criminal Procedure also requires each law enforcement agency file an annual report with the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Standards and Education as well as the governing body of the municipality no later than March 1st. These reports can be viewed online through the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Standards and Education website.
Video & Audio Equipment
Texas State law also requires law enforcement agencies to examine the feasibility of installing audio and video recording equipment on "each law enforcement motor vehicle regularly used to make traffic stops," and transmitter activated equipment in each agency law enforcement vehicle regularly used to make traffic stops.
The Quitman Police Department has equipped all of its patrol vehicles normally used to conduct traffic stops with equipment recommended by law and maintains video and audio records of each contact for a period of at least 90 days.