This bill would define racial profiling and would prohibit a law enforcement officer from engaging in racial profiling. The bill would require county and municipal police departments to adopt written policies to prohibit racial profiling, would require the adoption of the forms to be used for statistics of traffic stops, would provide for complaints, would require reports to be filed with the Attorney General, and would provide for the reporting and collection of data on the injuries to state and local law enforcement officers.
We support this bill because law enforcement, as an office of the government, must be able to be held accountable to the people. However, current police practices do not have a standard method for tracking data on police encounters. Without this data, it is difficult to identify if and what problems are happening in Alabama police departments. We supported a similar bill introduced in the 2018 session, which made it through the Senate and House committee but failed on a floor vote.
The bill was pre-filed on January 30, 2019 and assigned to the Judiciary Committee in the Senate. On March 21, a companion bill was introduced in the House and assigned to the Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee. On April 10, the bill passed out of committee and now awaits the full Senate.
ACLU of Alabama Comment
"SB21 will define racial profiling and require law enforcement agencies adopt policies to prevent it by collecting data on police interactions during traffic stops. This data should not only inform our understanding of police practices but promotes engagement and collaboration in shaping the policies and guidelines they follow. Improving community relations between the public and law enforcement begins with transparency and collecting data allows us to take steps toward addressing broader community and public safety concerns."
- 4/10/19 - Senate committee approves racial profiling ban [Montgomery Advertiser]
- 2/5/19 - Alabama senator wants to identify, stop racial profiling [AL.com]