Bias Based Profiling Overview
Officers of the Tallahassee Police Department patrol in a proactive manner to deter and locate criminal activity, investigate suspicious persons and/or circumstances, and enforce motor vehicle laws. It is proactive enforcement that keeps our citizens free from crime and our streets and highways safe to drive upon. We accomplish this mission in a way that respects the dignity of all persons and yet sends a strong deterrent message to actual and potential law breakers.
Bias based profiling is the selection of individuals based solely on a common trait of a group. This includes, but is not limited to, race, ethnic background, gender or gender identification, sexual orientation, religion, economic status, age, cultural group or other identifiable groups. The Tallahassee Police Department prohibits bias based profiling by its officers. This prohibition is included in policy in a stand-alone fair and impartial policing section, and it is also incorporated into various other policies to reinforce the Department’s commitment to this philosophy.
TPD’s Bias Based Profiling Policy
Fair and Impartial Policing
The Department and its members are committed to unbiased policing of the community we serve. Department policies, protocols, and training are founded on our belief in fair and impartial policing, and serve to assure the public we are providing service and enforcing laws in an equitable way.
I. Policing Impartially
A. Investigative detentions, traffic stops, arrests, searches and property seizures by officers will be based on a standard of reasonable suspicion or probable cause in accordance with the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
B. Officers must be able to articulate specific facts and circumstances which support reasonable suspicion or probable cause for investigative detentions, traffic stops, arrests, nonconsensual searches and property seizures.
C. Except as provided in subsection D below, officers shall not consider race/ethnicity in:
1. Establishing either reasonable suspicion or probable cause,
2. Deciding to initiate a nonconsensual encounter which does not amount to a legal detention, or
3. Requesting consent to search.
D. Officers may take into account the reported race or ethnicity of a specific suspect or suspects based on trustworthy, locally relevant information which links a person or persons of a specific race/ethnicity to a particular unlawful incident.
1. Race/ethnicity can never be used as the sole basis for probable cause or reasonable suspicion.
2. Except as provided above, race/ethnicity shall not be motivating factors in making law enforcement decisions.
II. Preventing Perception of Biased Policing
A. The protocols in this section augment existing procedures in General Orders 56 (Traffic Stops) and 76 (Traffic and Parking Enforcement), Patrol Operations SOP 32 (Field Interviews), and the Work Standards section of this written directive.
B. In an effort to prevent inappropriate perceptions of biased law enforcement, each officer is responsible for adhering to the following when conducting field interviews and unknown risk traffic stops:
1. Being courteous and professional.
2. Providing their name as an introduction, and:
a. If not in standard uniform, providing Department affiliation (i.e., “with the Tallahassee Police Department”), and
b. Stating the reason for the stop as soon as practical, unless providing this information will compromise officer or public safety.
3. Ensuring the detention last no longer than is reasonably necessary to take appropriate action for the known or suspected offense, and providing the citizen the reason/purpose for any delays.
4. Addressing any questions/concerns the citizen may have about the detention.
5. When requested, providing their name and badge number in writing or on a business card.
6. In situations where the officer determines reasonable suspicion has been dispelled or probable cause does not exist for the continued detention, explaining the situation to the citizen, when possible.
How to Report Bias Based Profiling
Citizens who feel they have been stopped or searched based upon bias-based profiling are encouraged to file a complaint with the Department. Complaints can be made directly to the Internal Affairs Unit 24 hours-a-day via mail, e-mail, the online complaint form on Talgov.com, or telephone (850-891-4321; please leave a voice message after business hours). Members of the Internal Affairs Unit are available to accept complaints in person or by telephone (850-891-4321) between 8:00am and 5:00pm, Monday through Friday (excluding holidays). Additionally, complaints can be made to any police supervisor at any time. All complaints will be investigated.