Racial Profiling in Florida
In American Policing Is the Issue of racial profiling. Many people have different views when It comes to this subject matter.
Many people believe that racial profiling is a myth or ploy and is ultimately nonexistent. Others feel that racial profiling does exist and is a key contributing factor that law enforcement officers use to determine whether to perform law enforcement. The topic of Racial Profiling has been passionately debated among citizens, law enforcement officials, policy makers, and legislators at various levels of government.These debates has led to a large umber civil lawsuits nationwide, court-ordered data collection, Investigations Into certain law enforcement agencies, and the passing of various laws mandating cultural diversity training and prohibiting racial profiling practices in various law enforcement agencies. Still, the following questions have not been thoroughly answered: Are African-Americans and other ethnic groups stopped by police because they are more likely to have committed certain types of traffic violations? Is race a significant predictor of being “pulled over”, cited or search by police?Does law enforcement officials target motorists based on race? This research paper will emphatically prove that African-Americans and other ethnic groups are disproportionately cited for traffic violations more often than whites. Racial Profiling is defined as the use of an individual’s race or ethnicity by law enforcement personnel as a key factor in deciding whether to engage in enforcement (make a traffic stop or arrest)(Wilson, 2004). Due to public outcry and protest, Racial Profiling has been researched extensively.
Most research has found that there Is no relative Information that police disproportionately stop people of color for traffic violations as oppose to white motorists. Others research has shown that some police officers stop motorists of certain racial or ethnic groups because the officers believe that these groups are more likely than others to commit certain types of crimes and traffic offenses. One study stated “this study finds that although the police stop a disproportionate number of minorities, the relationship between race and the decision to stop is very weak” (James, 2002, p. . ) The study also went to state the some police use traffic stops as a precursor for other criminal violations. In “Disparity and Racial Profiling in Traffic Enforcement” the author writes: “Multivariate models indicate minorities stopped by police are more likely to be stopped at night and to reside outside the city. Minorities are significantly less likely to receive formal sanction than majorities, suggesting officers are using traffic violations for perceptual stops” (Novak, 2004 p.
66. ).This research paper will attempt to analyze the statistics associated with racial profiling In Florida, as well as prove there Is a correlation between minorities being frequently targeted and cited for various violations. This study takes the position that African-Americans and other ethnic groups are objected to frequent traffic stops as well as being overrepresented in the criminal justice system with traffic violations in Florida. To prove this statement, this study will analyze various statistics associated with the issuing of citations per year against the population of Florida.It will also attempt to get the total number of licensed drivers this study will also survey a group of small, culturally diverse, licensed drivers in Florida in an attempt to prove that there is a correlation between race and traffic stops, even on an undersized level. These methods will be used to emphatically rove that African-Americans and other ethnic groups are disproportionately cited for traffic violations more often than whites.
The statistics for this study are derived from the US Census Bureau and the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHOWS).The DHOWS does keep statistics of citations, the violations occurred, and dispositions, however, they do keep statistics of the gender, race, age, or other information that assist in identifying the “make-up” of these perpetrators. Also, the DHOWS is limited in the aspect of identifying certain law enforcement agencies that might have the propensity to target a certain group of individuals because of various reasons (I. E. Action, population, etc). Therefore, it would nearly impossible to identify Racial Profiling in Florida. Data from this survey was calculated electronically through an online website.
Anonymity was essential in collected this data. The survey was sent out randomly in several emails asking those respondents to complete the survey. The totals and statistics calculated in this survey were from those individuals that completed the survey entirely. There were a total of 11 surveys that were completed. The age range of the respondents were as follows; 6 (54. 5%) of the respondents were between the ages of 26 to 35, 3 (27. %) were between the ages of 36 to 45, and 2 (18.
2%) were between the ages of 46-55. The gender of those respondents was 7 females and 4 males.The ethic background of the respondents were (2) Whites, (6) Black or African-Americans, (2) Latino or Hispanic, and (1) unreported. All of the respondents reported that they were “pulled over” between O and 3 times within the last year. Additionally, all of the respondents reported that they received between O to 3 traffic citations within the last year. When the question was asked, “How many citations you received in the last 10 years, the majority (90. %) reported they had received between 0-5 traffic citations and 1 respondent (901%) reported they had received between 6 to 10 traffic citations.
The research in this study has proved inconclusive. Racial Profiling on many levels is difficult to prove. One of the problems that occurred during this research was there variety of statistics on citations issued and disposition of those citations, however they do not record the age, gender, nor race of those people who the citations was issued against. Also, the specific law enforcement agencies issuing these citations and area are not indicated either. The law enforcement agencies are listed as follows; Florida Highway Patrol, City Police Department, Sheriff Department, and Other.Lastly, the DHOWS does not identify the area that many of these law enforcement agencies are patrolling. All of these areas are critical in learning how to identify racial profiling in certain areas.
In “Disparity and Racial Profiling in Traffic Enforcement” the author had similar findings. In this study, the researcher wrote “… To date, examinations of racial profiling have focused exclusively on officer behavior in large city police departments or state level police, ignoring either smaller restrictions or suburban Jurisdictions (Novak, 2004 p. 0. ).
” Based on these results, it will probably be advantageous to perform a longitudinal study on a specific law enforcement agency in a culturally diverse area, and examining the behavior habits and patterns of law enforcement officers for an extended period of time. The survey used to collect the data for racial profiling in this study did not support the hypothesis for this research. First, the survey needed a bigger sample size. The eleven people who participated in this survey were not enough to support this study on any level.The sample size should have been larger and also taken place in only one particular city, county, or municipality to properly observe patterns of racial profiling. Secondly, the allotted choices of answers in this survey did not provide a clear and specific count to the amount of citations received by the respondents. As a result, it was a difficult task to construct a reliable count of citations received.
Instead of providing a number range of citations received, it should have probably been a specific number of citations received to provide a clear indicator of quantity of citations.This would have given an accurate representation the amount of tickets received. Lastly, the survey should have recorded answers from one particular city, county, or municipality. In order to get a complete and accurate account of racial profiling, it would be in the best interest of the researcher to observe one city or observe and compare two or more cities with similar characteristics. This would allow the researcher to observe racial profiling; police tactics and behaviors could be better understood so that the mechanisms for minimizing or eliminating biased policing can be developed.