Prior to March 1 each year, law enforcement agencies across Texas are required to present a racial profiling report from the previous year to their governing bodies — city councils for police departments and in the case of the Erath County Sheriff’s Office — the county commissioners court.
In early February Stephenville Police Chief Jason King reported his department’s results and this week, Sheriff Matt Coats did so at commissioners court.
The good news for residents is that both agencies turned in spotless reports.
Chief Deputy Heath Crossland, who joined the Erath County Sheriff’s Office in mid-January, said, “When Sheriff Coats took over, we pretty much hit the ground running on this. There were a lot of areas on the administrative side that we wanted to ensure were in compliance and we worked with Alex del Carmen of Del Carmen Consulting, LLC to help us get this done correctly.
”We not only looked at this past year, but went back three years to make sure we were in compliance, and we found that we are. In addition to checking racial profiling, we also researched our uniform crime reporting and property and evidence handling and we are compliant in those areas as well.”
Alex del Carmen, Ph.D. provided background on the legal requirements of this work.
"The Texas Legislature, with the intent of addressing the issue of racial profiling enacted in 2001 the Texas Racial Profiling Law," he said. "In the 2009 legislative session, the Racial Profiling Law was modified and additional requirements are now in place.”
A great deal of data is produced in the annual report, including how many motor vehicle-related contacts were made during the preceding year. The information provided by the Sheriff’s Office indicated that there were 273 motor vehicle-related contacts by the agency between Jan. 1, 2016 — Dec. 31, 2016.
The breakdown of those contacts by race/ethnicity are as follows:
• Caucasian — 227
• African — 4
• Hispanic — 41
• Asian — 1
• Native American — 0
• Middle Eastern — 0
• Other — 0