RELEASE – Organizations call on Crime Commission to curb racial profiling

For Immediate Release

September 17, 2014
Contact, Jeff Sheldon
Nebraska Appleseed
Office: (402) 438-8853
Mobile: (402) 840-7289
Email: jsheldon@neappleseed.org
 
Tyler Richard
ACLU of Nebraska
Phone: (402) 476-8091 x104
Email: trichard@aclunebraska.org

 

Organizations present recommendations to Nebraska Crime Commission to curb racial profiling

LINCOLN — Today, a group of 25 Nebraska organizations and concerned citizens presented a letter to the Nebraska Crime Commission in advance its biannual meeting on Thursday containing four (4) policy recommendations designed to reduce harmful and unjust racial profiling by law enforcement.

Data collected by the Nebraska Crime Commission over the past twelve years shows that in many Nebraska counties, people of color are more likely to be stopped, searched and detained by law enforcement. The data also shows that people of color are more likely to have their cars searched and be arrested, while white drivers are simply given a ticket for the same offenses.

The federal Department of Justice has said racially biased practices by law enforcement hurt public safety and make it harder for law enforcement to investigate crimes. Ending racial profiling is a matter of holding law enforcement accountable and ensuring all Nebraskans can have trust in law enforcement.

The four key steps presented to the NCC are:

  1. Investigate law enforcement agencies which appear to engage in profiling.

The Nebraska Crime Commission was given increased authority by the Nebraska Legislature to investigate law enforcement agencies and collect data related to racial profiling by the passage of LB 99. The letter specifically requests the NCC to study the Omaha Police Department, Lincoln Police Department, Douglas County Sheriff, and Dawson County Sheriff. Data indicates these agencies may have engaged in alarmingly high rates of racial profiling.

  1. Finalize anti-racial profiling policy implementation by all law enforcement agencies

The new power granted by the Legislature in 2013 permits the Crime Commission to mandate model anti-racial-profiling policies for any agency that has failed to “timely create and provide” their own policy meeting the requirements set by the Commission. All agencies were required by law to pass a policy by January 1, 2014. The group understands that several agencies have simply failed to pass any policies, and other agencies passed inadequate policies.

  1. Seek grant funding to further study racial profiling.

The Crime Commission is empowered by law to seek grant funding or state appropriations to carry out its work in studying and eradicating racial profiling. The group calls for the Commission to actively begin making grant applications to expand its capacity to address these serious issues including hiring additional staff or providing training to law enforcement agencies.

  1. Improve the complaint process

Nebraska law directs the Commission to “develop a uniform system for receiving allegations of racial profiling.” Yet there is no complaint process information on the Crime Commission’s website. The group calls for the Crime Commission to create an accessible and well-advertised process to receive complaints of racial profiling.

Read the full letter here

 

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