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FW Councilman Questions Racial Profiling Report

By BJ Austin

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/kera/local-kera-970366.mp3

Dallas, TX – One Fort Worth City Council member wants more information about the Police Department's annual racial profiling report. Frank Moss says it doesn't look good. KERA's BJ Austin reports.

Moss says it appears a disproportionate number of African Americans had cars searched during police stops last year, and about twice as many were arrested than whites or Hispanics. Moss says out thousands of "stops" 1300 African Americans were arrested versus 700 for Hispanics and whites. He wants Police Chief Jeff Halstead to get back to him with an explanation.

Moss: When you start looking at raw numbers, those raw numbers give the general perception that there is profiling in the overall process.

Chief Halstead says trends remain consistent: little change in the annual racial profiling data collected for the past five years. And he says the Department has gotten better at catching criminals: those wanted on outstanding warrants or suspected in current criminal activity. The Chief says the department will roll out a new dashboard information system next month. It tracks details of every police stop, and allows analysis in almost "real time."

Halstead: If we determine there's any employee that has a little bit of an edge as to the manner in which they're patrolling or enforcing the laws, then we do not have to wait for a quarterly audit.

He calls the dashboard information system the "greatest step" the department will take to ensure police professionalism and protection of citizens' civil rights.