More recently the word racial profiling has been attached to that activity. The thought is to single out blacks and other racial groups in a hope of preventing crime. It later became an accepted practice and racial profiling was actually invested in by some police agencies. It did not become a cause for alarm until around 2002 when the first legal suits were perused by those who felt they had been discriminated against. This led to the need to take a second look at the practice.
With all of the legal action that was taking place came the outrage of citizens who believed that minorities were being treated badly by police. This led to police keeping track of the race of people that they pulled over. Study of that data showed that truly there was a problem. Further study by others followed, including the study done by George Higgins and team (2009) on the influence of race in traffic stops.
"By the time police Sgt. Robert Motyka responds to the disturbance call at a local hospital emergency room, the man at the reception counter is clearly agitated. His speech is unintelligible. He becomes frantic as the officer slowly approaches, urging him to calm down. In a blur of flailing arms, the man reaches for something in his back pocket. Motyka has no time to consider the possible consequences of one of the most potentially combustible scenarios in America: a confrontation between a black man and a white officer. When the man pulls a knife and lunges forward, Motyka drops him with four quick pops from his 9mm Beretta. But there will be no public second-guessing of the 13 year veteran's actions. In this case, Motyka was reacting to a large-screen video simulation."(Johnson, 2009).
This department has a shooting range realistic demo that allows decision making to take place in a few seconds just like on the street. What can be done to improve the racial profiling that is built into police business today This is a possible partial solution. The rest is cultural training that needs to take place in the departments. People somehow feel more threatened when a couple of black students are standing on a corner than white students. Is the dress or is it lack of cultural understanding. Fear comes from lack of understanding and fear leads to wrong decision.
In conclusion, racial profiling is unfortunately a part of our culture, not just that of the police department. To overcome it, we must overcome our lack of understanding of the other culture. This is happening at some level although it still has a long way to go. In the meantime, like the simulations above practice at a better response is important. Is there ever a time when racial profiling is ok. This writer says probably not, while you are watching the black guy in the car, the white guy will shoot you. When it comes to doing police work all suspects deserve suspicion.
Higgins, G., Gabbidon, S., Gennary, V., Exploring the influence of race relations
And public safety concerns on public support for racial profiling during
traffic stops. Journal of Police Science and Management. Vol. 12. 1
Johnson, Kevin (2009). In a switch, police invite scrutiny of racial profiling
USA Today. Retrieved