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Profiling Procedures in the Los Angeles Police Department

The law enforcers and most commonly the police, have profiling procedures that separate certain groups of people from the majority. These could be set up according to race, age, minority groups or a number of other elements. In order to avoid such discriminating behavior, there are policies in place that are directed towards the prevention of such unwarranted profiling of certain groups of people.

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The Los Angeles Police Department and several other agencies have shown to have policies in place that separate groups of people. There are several patterns that make this occurrence very common. Even though in today’s day and age profiling is frowned upon and illegal, it still exists and is very hard to root out. The first step that has been taken towards the cessation of such behavior, is laws that prohibit profiling. Such behavior towards certain people is considered unconstitutional and deprives the person of moral rights and freedoms. The police are advocating that there has been extensive research done and certain groups do break the law more often. They attribute it to the fact that when such person is stopped, they will have an excuse that they are being racially profiled and the case will be dismissed. This gives them more freedom to act in disobedience of the law. But nonetheless there are several policies that LAPD has put in motion to prevent any sort of profiling (Lasley, 2012).

As police officers are the most direct and hands on force that deals with the public, they are the ones who are being heavily educated on the issue. There are a number of courses that the officers must take prior to going out on the job. These are called internal practices where the department itself will provide the proper education. The police officers are held accountable if there is any disobedience to the law because they have taken the courses and are obligated to act in accordance with the policies. The process of recruitment and the selection of personnel has also become very strict and detailed. There are several strategies that the departments use in the recruitment and implementation of new officers into the force. One of them is community familiarization where officers would visit local community centers, schools, employment workshops and other institutions. They make themselves visible and let the public get to know them. Another strategy is the placement of a number of ads in newspapers, on radio and TV, so that there is a greater number of people applying for the job. This would increase the potential force and make the selection process easier, more effective and selective. Often police departments look for candidates from the community and specifically from the minority groups (Better, 2008). These could be the predominant race of the area, people with certain background or simply someone who speaks the language common to the region. Women are also preferred to be on the force, as it makes it easier for them to conduct searches, as well as talk to the female suspects. There have often been cases where women claimed that they were profiled and that male officers abused their power towards them. Another policy that is targeted to prevent any profiling is the specific requirements that the recruits must have prior to the acceptance to the force. These include a certain age, education level and most importantly a psychological exam. A psychologists’ team conducts a number of interviews with the potential officers to establish the nature of their views and predisposition towards certain people. This has proven very effective as people will often give out non-verbal cues that reflect their opinion towards others (Gutiérrez-Jones, 2001).

A major component in the prevention of the profiling is the incorporation of special courses into the training of new cadets. This has become mandatory and the lectures are given in a clear-cut and easy to comprehend manner. After graduating from the academy the cadets are assigned a veteran officer or a supervisor who will guide them the first part of the way. They are instructed to prevent any sort of profiling behavior and report it to the department’s chief. As policing is very isolated and sometimes an officer works alone, without a partner, their reports play a major role in the statistic. A careful examination and correlation between the incidents and arrests is taken under attention and has created a concrete way to establish the predispositions if there are any (Lasley, 2012). But the police officers are not the only ones who have policies to avoid profiling. The administration of justice, courts, lawmakers, prosecutors and lawyers are all monitored for such cases. Internal Affairs are to investigate any form of misconduct pertaining to racial and other types of profiling. They also have a number of courses that must be taken in relation to racial profiling and the recognition of such in the field. And of course it has been long acceptable for a regular citizen to voice their complaint and sue the officer or anyone who they feel might have violated their rights (MacDonald, 2010).

All in all, profiling is a very sensitive matter and even though there are policies in place it still has not been completely avoided. Sometimes it is due to coincidence and sometimes it is purposeful but the recognition of the problem is obvious and further steps will without a doubt be taken.

References

Better, S. (2008). Institutional Racism: A primer on theory and strategies for social change. Maryland, United States: Rowman & Littlefield.

Gutiérrez-Jones, C. (2001). Critical race narratives: A study of race, rhetoric, and injury. New York, United States: NYU Press.

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Lasley, J. (2012). Los Angeles Police Department Meltdown: The fall of the professional-reform. Boca Raton, United States: CRC Press.

MacDonald, H. (2010). Are cops racist? Chicago, United States: Ivan R. Dee.

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