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Bias-Based Profiling

It is the policy of the School District of Palm Beach County Police Department to protect the Constitutional Rights of all people, regardless of race, color, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, physical handicap, religion, or other belief system or physical characteristic; and to treat each person with dignity and respect.

Law Enforcement officers are required to use skills developed through observation, training and experience in order to identify suspicious circumstances, unusual occurrences and violations of law (municipal ordinance, criminal and traffic), and to act according to the situation. We contact people who, according to our training, experience, and knowledge, are in a place or are acting in a way to make us believe that a crime was committed, is about to be committed or is in the process of being committed. This proactive approach aids in the detection and apprehension of criminals, maintains the safety of our schools, and protects our community from crime.

Discriminatory enforcement practices can alienate our community and students, foster distrust of the police in the community, invite media scrutiny, legislative action and judicial intervention, and potentially lead to allegations of Constitutional and civil rights violations. As we perform our duties, it is imperative that we afford all citizens the Constitutional and fundamental right to equal protection under the law. We use accepted investigative tools: criminal profiling is one of the many accepted and necessary law enforcement investigative practices. However, it differs from, and should not be confused with, bias-based profiling. One is an investigative tool; the other a discriminatory practice.

Criminal profiling allows us to investigate crime, using every legitimate tool at our disposal to narrow the list of potential suspects so we can identify, find, and arrest those responsible for the crimes, to bring them to justice and to keep them from committing more acts against society. Criminal profiling can assist us by narrowing the field of potential suspects in major criminal investigations. Based on current and historical law enforcement investigative knowledge and experience, we scrutinize a set of facts and factors common to specific (e.g., serial murder with a certain 'signature') or general (e.g., narcotics trafficking) criminal activity. From these facts and factors, we may be able to identify a type of person or group of people by gender, age, race and/or by personality, social and/or other characteristics who are most likely to be involved. This criminal profiling does add elements (such as gender, race, or ethnicity) to a list of factors scrutinized to identify a suspect, these elements are only parts of several pieces of the puzzle that police must put together to solve crime.

Bias-based profiling occurs when, whether intentionally or unintentionally, an officer applies his or her own personal, societal, or organizational biases or stereotypes when making decisions or taking police action, and the ONLY reason for that decision or action is because of a person's race, ethnicity, background, gender, sexual orientation, religion, observed behavior of the individual or the identification of thee individual as being, having been or about to be engaged in criminal activity.

The School District of Palm Beach County Police Department will not accept or tolerate bias-based profiling.

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