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Racial Profiling Report

The following report is provided in accordance with Article 2.132 (7) of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedures. The Code requires that the police department annually report, to both its governing body and the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education, data collected on the race or ethnicity of individuals stopped for traffic violations and subsequently cited, searched and/or arrested. Reporting must take place on or before March 1st of each year.

The following report meets this requirement by providing a detailed analysis of the La Porte Police Department’s policies, training, and statistical information on racial profiling for the year 2013. To assist City Council in their examination of the included data, detailed demographic data has also been provided relating to the City of La Porte, Harris County, and the State of Texas.

For the purposes of this report and analysis, the following definition of racial profiling is used: racial profiling means a 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 (Texas CCP Article 3.05).

- La Porte Police Department Policy/ Training on Racial Profiling

A review of La Porte Police Department regulation 2.400 provides evidence that the department has adopted policies in compliance with Article 2.132 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure (see Appendix A). There are several specific requirements mandated by Article 2.132 that a law enforcement agency’s Racial Profiling Policy must address. Each of these requirements are covered in the La Porte Police Department’s Racial Profiling Policy, which provides clear direction that any form of racial profiling is prohibited and that officers found engaging in inappropriate profiling may be disciplined up to and including termination. The regulations also provide a very clear statement of the agency’s philosophy regarding equal treatment of all persons regardless of race or ethnicity. All members of the La Porte Police Department have received formal training required by the State of Texas relating to Racial Profiling and have been provided, and signed for copies, of the departmental policy in question. Additionally, the policy is required to be reviewed with all employees by supervisors on a bi-annual basis.

- La Porte Police Department Statistical Data on Racial Profiling

In accordance with Departmental Policy, Officers of La Porte Police Department submitted statistical information on all motorist contacts in 2013 and accompanying information on the race of the person contacted. This data has been aggregated and is presented in the below tables, accompanied by relevant information on searches, arrests, and demographic information.


LPPD Traffic Citations Compared with Overall Race Representation in Population

Race

La Porte PD Citations Issued

LPPD
Percent Contacted by Race

La Porte

Population Representation

Harris County

Population Representation

Texas

Population Representation

Asian 82 1.4% 1.2% 6.6% 4.2%
Black 709 12.4% 6.2% 19.5% 12.3%
Caucasian 3,693 64.9% 59.9% 29.6% 42.5%
Hispanic 1,158 20.4% 29.4% 41.5% 38.2%
Middle East 3 0.1% 2.6% 1.6% 1.7%
Native American 4 0.1% 0.6% 1.1% 1.0%
Other 37 0.7% 0.1% 0.1% 0.1%
Total 5,686 100% 100% 100% 100%



LPPD Searches Compared with Overall Race Representation in Population

Race LPPD Searches Without Consent With Consent La Porte
Percent Searched by Race

La Porte

Population Representation

Harris County

Population Representation

Texas

Population Representation

Asian 1 0 1 1.0% 1.2% 6.6% 4.2%
Black 8 4 4 7.5% 6.2% 19.5% 12.3%
Caucasian 73 50 23 68.9% 59.9% 29.6% 42.5%
Hispanic 24 15 9 22.6% 29.4% 41.5% 38.2%
Middle East 0 0 0 0.0% 2.6% 1.6% 1.7%
Native American 0 0 0 0.0% 0.6% 0.1% 1.0%
Other 0 0 0 0.0% 0.1% 0.1% 0.1%
Total 106 69 37 100% 100% 100% 100%



LPPD Arrests Compared with Overall Race Representation in Population

Race LPPD Arrests La Porte PD
Percent Arrested by Race

La Porte

Population Representation

Harris County

Population Representation

Texas

Population Representation

Asian 7 0.6% 1.2% 6.6% 4.2%
Black 149 13.5% 6.2% 19.5% 12.3%
Caucasian 627 56.9% 59.9% 29.6% 42.5%
Hispanic 313 28.4% 29.4% 41.5% 38.2%
Middle East 0 0.2% 2.6% 1.6% 1.7%
Native American 0 0.0% 0.6% 0.1% 1.0%
Other 4 0.4% 0.1% 0.1% 0.1%
Total 1,100 100% 100% 100% 100%



Overall involvement by Race for LPPD Contacts and Arrests

(In Comparison to La Porte Population)


Race % of Race Involvement % of Race in La Porte Population
Asian 1.0% 1.2%
Black 12.9% 6.2%
Caucasian 60.9% 59.9%
Hispanic 24.4% 29.4%
Middle East 0.2% 2.6%
Native American 0.1% 0.6%
Other 0.5% 0.1%
Total 100% 100%

The above statistics seem to indicate that Black, Caucasian, and Other-race drivers were contacted and arrested incident to traffic violations at a rate higher than the percentage of their respective residency within the City of La Porte. While noticeable, easy determinations regarding whether or not La Porte officers have “racially profiled" a given motorist are impossible given the fact that the included census data represents 2012 & 2013 U.S. Census population figure estimates according to Demographic Profile Data of General Population and Housing Characteristics representing all age groups, yet does not take into account a specific combination of age and race regarding the percentage of the drivers who were actually stopped. Additionally, while the 2013 population estimate figures are represented, updates of the projected demographic statistics for 2013 & 2014 are not yet available. Further interpretation problems exist in regard to the police officers themselves who are currently forced to make subjective determinations regarding an individual's race based on his or her personal observations because the Texas Department of Public Safety does not provide an objectively based determination of an individual's race/ethnicity on the Texas driver's license.

The absence of any verifiable race/ethnicity data on the driver's license is especially troubling given the possibility of citizens who are of mixed racial decent. As such, the validity of any racial/ethnic disparities discovered in the aggregate level data becomes threatened in direct proportion to the number of subjective "guesses" officers are forced to make when trying to determine an individual's racial/ethnic background. It is also important to note that these variations appear less significant when examining statistics relating strictly to residents of the City of La Porte. This may indicate that minority drivers traveling through the City from other areas of the county/state/country, which are much more highly represented by minority populations, may account for larger percentages of non-resident traffic offenders, making comparisons relating strictly to La Porte area populations difficult. Still, the La Porte Police Department is committed to providing public safety without bias of any type and will continue to closely track, monitor, and regulate employee activities in order to ensure that biased-based policing does not occur.

Note: Enforcement statistics relating to Asian, Hispanic, Middle Eastern, and Native American drivers either closely mirror or are below population ratios within the City of La Porte.

In summary, the foregoing analysis shows that the La Porte Police Department is fully in compliance with all relevant Texas laws concerning racial profiling, including the existence of a formal policy prohibiting racial profiling by its officers, officer training, and the collection of data in compliance with the law. Additionally, a review of internal administrative records indicated that during 2013 the department received no complaints that could be categorized as involving some type of racial profiling. As a result of this analysis, and the listed statistics, it is my belief that the officers of the La Porte Police Department are operating appropriately and without bias relating to individual violator race, ethnicity, or national origin.