Arizona, as part of its new immigration law, today released an hour-long training video that will be shown to law enforcement officers to train them in how not to engage in racial profiling.
The first chapter of the video, titled “Racial Profiling,” focuses on how to defend oneself against the inevitable charges of racial profiling from critics of the new law.
“Frankly, critics of this law believe that Arizona officers cannot be trusted with this kind of authority. They doubt your professionalism. They doubt your integrity, and they doubt your ethics,” says Lyle Mann, the executive director of the Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training Board. “That doubt is unfair and unearned.”
The new law requires law enforcement officers to demand the immigration papers of anyone they have a reasonable suspicion is in the country illegally. The law only applies when officers stop someone suspected of breaking a different law.
Watch the highlights:
“We’re gonna be accused of racial profiling no matter what we do,” says Tucson Police Chief Roberto Villasenor.
“The best thing we can do is document thoroughly where we develop our reasonable suspicion and probably cause,” he says, and make sure those reasons would hold even if the suspect is “not in a protected class, who’s average Joe Citizen. If those factors still hold up, then you’re on firm ground.”
“Do your job in a way that you can defend yourself and your agency against those accusations, which are certain to come,” he adds.
“Race must never enter into an officer’s decision,” says Brian Livingston, director of the Arizona Police Association. Gerald Richard, who works in the attorney general’s office, adds that “Nothing in the [immigration] law allows racial profiling.”
“Racial profiling is police misconduct,” Mann says. He continues:
Racial profiling is a step on the slippery slope of career and public trust destruction. If it is done, the reports then must be falsified to cover it up. Internal affairs statements might have to be fabricated. Testimony at trial perjured. Lost job, lost career, lost retirement, lost way of life. Over what? Catching a person who didn’t evade the law to get into this country.
Richard warns against profiling from a personal perspective.
“Having researched this subject, having taught this subject and having been a subject of racial profiling,” says Richard, who is black, “I assure you: I know about racial profiling.”
We’ve watched part of the video, and are slogging through the rest and will put the highlights online. In the meantime, you can stream the full video here.