King County on Racial Profiling

By Reichert, David | Law & Order, February 2001 | Go to article overview

King County on Racial Profiling


Reichert, David, Law & Order


The issue of discrimination based on racial profiling is a visible and sensitive topic. Racial profiling has received widespread media attention in our community and across the country. Treating a person differently solely because of ethnicity is wrong and the King County Sheriff's Office does not tolerate such conduct by our deputies. We do not condone nor allow racial profiling or discrimination.

When we first received inquiries about racial profiling, the Legal Unit of the Sheriff's Office thoroughly reviewed our history of discrimination complaints. The Sheriff's Office has no past, present or pending legal claims alleging racial profiling. Also, no complaints have been made to either the King County Executive or the County Ombudsman's Office.

The public expects us to be proactive in identifying those who intend to break the law. It is our duty, as law enforcement officers, to look for suspicious behavior that alerts us to criminal activity based on our training and experience. Our core values dictate to each and every deputy that all citizens, from the law abiding to the law breaking, deserve to be treated with dignity, fairness and equality.

King County Sheriff's deputies are selected following stringent hiring policies. Our deputies receive outstanding training and understand what is expected of them. The King County Sheriff's Office does not tolerate discriminatory practices and our employees understand the consequences of this behavior.

Many citizens are unaware that police recruit training incorporated diversity training into their curriculum several years ago. This curriculum includes instruction in understanding and respecting people of different races and cultures, with the main emphasis on preventing discrimination.

The King County Sheriff's Office provides continuity to support professional performance through: department-wide core values of leadership, integrity, service and teamwork; a no tolerance policy regarding discrimination; fair, thorough, consistent and timely internal investigations; clear policies and practices regarding disciplinary action; outside review of racial profiling investigations by recognized and respected judicial leaders; and facilitating public communication through informational pamphlets, education and outreach forums. …

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