Racial Profiling

This book was written to eliminate confusion regarding what has come to be called racial profiling by clarifying the legitimate law enforcement practice of criminal profiling, and by clarifying what constitutes unfair discrimination, and persecution. This book was written to benefit sociology students, law enforcement officers, and anyone else in a position to be concerned with, or affected by, the profiling issue. Police administrators, judges, and legislators, must adequately understand the topics and their many ramifications if they are to make decisions that are based on fact rather than stereotype and myth, and free from the influence of adverse social and political pressures. And, attorneys, when prosecuting or defending cases wherein profiling and discrimination is an issue must have good insight into the many interrelated dynamics of the topics to properly prepare and argue their case. This writing explores difficult social issues that are often poorly understood, but issues that need to be understood if solutions are to be meaningful. And, a poorly conceived solution is especially likely when the issues are both complex and controversial. In this book, the writers acknowledge that while criminal profiling is a necessary and legitimate law enforcement practice, unchecked bias can pollute the practice. And, while they acknowledge that measures to detect those whose enforcement practices reflect bias can have merit, they emphasize that such efforts must be in addition to the hiring of high caliber officers, providing quality training, providing competent leadership, and on a properly staffed and trained Internal Affairs department. But, the authors also emphasize the unfortunate fact that many efforts intended to prevent bias are to varying degrees ineffectual and create collateral problems. Germane to that discussion is illumination of the difficulties of monitoring fair treatment policies, and the unintended problems that often accompany consent decrees.