Bias Based Profiling Policy
The policy of the Office of Agricultural Law Enforcement (AgLaw) is to treat every citizen with courtesy and respect. The purpose of this position is to reaffirm our commitment to unbiased policing in all its encounters between police officers and citizens.
A fundamental right guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States is equal protection under the law. Along with this right to equal protection is the fundamental right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures by government agents as guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment. Citizens are free to walk and drive our streets, highways, and other public places without police interference so long as they obey the law. They also are entitled to be free from crime, and from the acts of criminals, and to drive and walk our public ways safe from the actions of reckless and careless drivers.
This law enforcement Agency is charged with protecting these rights, for all, regardless of race, color, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender, or economic status.
Police action which is biased is illegal and violates the equal protection clause and the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution. It also alienates citizens, fosters distrust of police, and undermines legitimate law enforcement efforts.
The nature of our business requires law enforcement officers to be observant, to identify unusual occurrences and law violations, and to act upon them. Proactive enforcement keeps our citizens free from crime and our streets and highways safe to drive upon.
Criminal profiling is a legitimate tool in the fight against crime. Criminal profiling is an investigative method in which an officer, through observation of activities and environment, identifies suspicious behavior by individuals and develops a legal basis, consistent with the Fourth Amendment, to stop them for questioning.
However, illegal profiling refers to a decision by an officer to stop, detain, interdict, or search an individual based on the race, color, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender, or economic status. This Agency prohibits illegal profiling as a law enforcement tactic and will not tolerate or condone its use by any of our officers in traffic contacts, field contacts, or in asset seizures or forfeiture efforts. It is AgLaw's philosophy to assist law enforcement in accomplishing this total mission in a way that respects the dignity of all persons and yet sends a strong message to actual and potential lawbreakers that if they break the law, that behavior will not be tolerated and they will likely encounter the police.
We want to do the right thing. Discriminatory enforcement practices can alienate our citizens, foster distrust of 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 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.