This bill would require police, sheriffs, and state law enforcement to track information about traffic stops including the race of the driver, the officer, and whether the stop resulted in a warning, ticket, search, or arrest. This bill is an effort to reduce racial profiling by law enforcement. Amendments were added to also identify information about officer injuries during traffic stops, as well as limiting these reporting requirements to what is specifically listed in the bill.
Racial profiling is a longstanding and deeply troubling problem in this country that causes communities to live in fear simply because of what they look like, where they come from, or what religion they adhere to. Racial profiling is also patently illegal, violating the U.S. Constitution's core promises of equal protection under the law to all and freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures. Just as importantly, racial profiling is ineffective. It alienates communities from law enforcement, hinders community policing efforts, and causes law enforcement to lose credibility and trust among the people they are sworn to protect and serve.
Racial profiling affects a wide array of communities of color, including immigrant, refugee, and Muslim communities in Alabama. However, we do not have consistent statistics on the extent of this problem because racial profiling has not been reported regularly. This bill would help us get data so that we can better fight the problem and eventually end racial profiling for good. The bill would also improve trust between law enforcement and the communities of color they serve.
It passed in the Senate with a 27-0 vote. It moved to the House Judiciary Committee, which approved it on Wednesday, March 14, 2018. It failed on the House floor with a vote of 34-52.
Alabama House rejects bill to track racial profiling (AL.com)
Bill to ban racial profiling in Alabama advances (AL.com)
Alabama Senate passes bill to track racial profiling by police (AL.com)
Alabama Senate passes bill to prohibit, track racial profiling in traffic stops (Alabama Political Reporter)