FPD releases new racial profiling data

Traffic stop

June 6, 2011 8:01:32 PM PDT
The Fayetteville Police Department unveiled new information Monday about how officers are conducting traffic stops as the department takes a closer look at racial profiling.

However, the latest police department numbers are still disturbing.

"I've heard complaints in parts of the community that says, yes, there is racial profiling," city council member Ted Mohen said.

Chief Tom Bergamine showed city leaders crime numbers from the first four months of this year. The numbers show that three times as many as black motorists are stopped and searched than white motorists, but Chief Bergamine says the numbers don't tell the whole story. He says many traffic stops are in high population and high crime areas.

"I don't think any of my officers are racially profiling," the Chief said.

In March, hundreds of residents packed a driving while black forum, after a search of police records showed that three out of four traffic stops between 2009 and 2010 involved African-American motorists.

Bergamine says more cameras have been installed in police cruisers to record traffic stops. Officers also are required to write down specific reasons for probable cause traffic stops. Officers can still ask motorists if they will consent to a search, which some see as the problem.

"What we are trying to do is get into the mindset of the officer, and I'm not sure we are ever going to find a solution to that problem, but the issue will remain until some steps are taken," Councilman Bill Crisp said.

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