SPD releases local racial profiling report

By Belinda SerranoStaff WriterThe 2010 report on racial profiling in Sweetwater was briefly presented during the City Commission meeting on Feb. 8. The Racial Profiling Policy, which lists racial profiling statistics, was adopted on Nov. 13, 2001 by the City of Sweetwater.Each year, a report is completed, noting the contact made between a person and an officer of the Sweetwater Police Department. A Racial Profiling form is completed by the officer and the information is compiled and made into statistics.The racial profiling statistics report is in compliance with five articles listed in the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, prohibiting Texas peace officers from engaging in racial profiling.According to the report submitted by Sweetwater Police Chief Jim Kelley, "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." The statistics only pertain to individuals who are perceived as suspects or potential suspects of any type of criminal behavior.The statistics are broken down into four categories. They include: total persons stopped, the percentage of total persons stopped, number of females stopped and number of males stopped. The races represented on the report consist of Caucasian, Hispanic, African-American, Asian, Middle Eastern, Native American and Unknown. The sub-categories of male and female are listed in the report, with one report breaking the numbers down by each month.Overall, 1,729 people were contacted. Among that number 1,038 were male, equaling 60%. The female numbers were reported at 691, or almost 40%.Caucasians came in with the number of 965, almost half (52%) of those reported. That number is broken down into 585 males (56%) and 380 females (55%).Hispanics were listed at the second highest with 554, making up a third of the entire percentage at a little over 32%. The number of Hispanic males was reported as 323 (31%), whereas the women was numbered at 231 (33%). From that point on, a steep drop takes place. African-Americans numbers came in at 187 — almost 11% overall, but the majority came from 113 males, or 11%. In contrast, only 74 females were reported, equivalent to 11% as well. An even drastic drop is reported among Asians, Middle Eastern and the Unknown category; Native Americans reported with no results. 'Unknown', sometimes considered for those with bi-racial parents, reported 19 contacts, or a mere 0.11%. 13 (1.25%) of those were male, while six were reported as female (0.88%). Asians and Middle Easterners both reported with two contacts each, with both contacts on each side reported as male (0.20%). Both categories were reported at a slim 0.04%.Also listed in the report is information regarding students' ethnicity within the Sweetwater Independent School District. The report spans from 2010 to 2006, and for the first time, Hispanics are the highest number reported at almost 48%. The number took a 6% jump from the previous year (2009), however, the number was steady in the low 40s since 2006.Caucasians took a drop in number, going from 48% in 2009 to 44% this past year. The number stood at 51% in 2006, yet fell and remained steady at around 48% in 2007 and 2008.As a result, Caucasians and Hispanics make up about 90% of the entire SISD. African-Americans reported at about 7% in 2010, dropping from the 9% held steadily between 2007 through 2009. The numbers in 2006 came in at 8%.One number that has particularly grown is in the Unknown category. In 2010, the percentage rate was at almost 2%. While reports showed no numbers in 2009, this category only stood at approximately 0.35% from 2006 to 2008.No numbers were reported in the Middle Eastern and Native American counties. Thus, the rest of the percentage within the SISD comes from the Asian population. The number reported in 2010 was 0.10%, declining from the 1% that was reported a year before. In the three years prior, no number were reported in this particular category.