What is bias-based profiling?
Bias-based profiling occurs when an officer, whether intentionally or unintentionally, makes decisions or takes police action due to personal, societal or organizational biases or stereotypes based upon a person’s race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, economic status, background, age, culture, physical handicap, religion or other belief system or any physical or personal characteristic. It undermines legitimate law enforcement efforts, fosters distrust of law enforcement, and invites outside scrutiny of agency practices.
The absence of articulable facts, suspicious activity, or specific criminal information is what separates bias-based profiling from legitimate criminal profiling.
All sworn BCSO law enforcement officers are provided training on the subject of biased based and racial profiling as well as their individual responsibility to prevent such occurrences.
The following is the policy statement issued to all personnel of the Sheriff’s Office:
“Law enforcement activities that are the result of biased-based profiling are not condoned, are unacceptable, and will not be tolerated by the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office.”
The written directive of the Sheriff also contains the following provisions to ensure that incidents of biased based profiling do not occur:
- All traffic enforcement actions will be documented to include the race, gender or ethnicity of those persons detained, if it can reasonably be determined by appearance.
- Race, ethnicity, gender, or other group identifiers will not be the primary factor in determining probable cause for arrest or reasonable suspicion for a stop.
- The focus of Sheriff’s personnel will be on a person’s behavior, actions and supported facts and circumstances in determining enforcement action.
- Any person may file a complaint with the Sheriff’s Office if they feel that they have been stopped, detained, or searched based solely on bias-based profiling.
- No person will be discouraged, intimidated, or coerced from filing a biased based profiling complaint.
- All complaints of biased based profiling, once investigated, will be forwarded to the Sheriff for appropriate action.
- Unit supervisors are required to monitor and conduct periodic assessments of the enforcement activities of personnel under their command to identify any potential biased based profiling activity.
If you would like any further information regarding the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office biased based profiling initiative, you may contact the Sheriff’s Staff Services Office at (321) 264-5216.