AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) Each year law enforcement agencies are required by the state to analyze their traffic stop data through a racial profiling report.
“We have a strict policy that prevents racial profiling,” Chief Martin Birkenfeld with Amarillo Police Department said. “When we conduct a traffic stop it’s based solely on the violation that’s observed.”
The report analyzed demographics on the 31,503 total traffic stops APD said were made in 2020. According to the report, 98% of those stops reported, officers say race was not known prior to the stop.
“It’s self reported on every traffic stop the officers are required to write a warning or a ticket both of those documents have a section that’s required on every single one and it’s all of the categories is required by state law was the race known before the stop what was the result before the stop,” Chief Birkenfeld said.
In the report, APD said 58.8% of the motorists stopped were White , 28.2% were Hispanic and 11.1% percent were Black. When you compare the most recent demographics from the U.S. Census Bureau, Black motorists were stopped at a disproportionately higher rate than their percentage of the population in Amarillo. Chief Birkenfeld noted that the report reflects all traffic stops, including non-Amarillo residents.
“I wish we had a better way of establishing the demographics of the driving public it could go either way but yeah certainly compared against the driving public to the demographic there’s a difference there but these numbers don’t alarm me,” Chief Birkenfeld said.
For the second year in a row, APD says they received no racial profiling complaints in which Chief Birkenfeld attributes to training.
“Last fall every single police officer went through implicit bias training,” Chief Birkenfeld added. “I’m a part of that because I want to make sure that I understand the message and I want to make sure officers understand the message.”
To view the full report, click here.
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