Biggest Little City

Impartial Policing

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The Reno Police Department does not condone the racial profiling of any group by sworn personnel and prohibits any policy, procedure or practice that constitutes racial profiling, or any activity that results in racial profiling of any group in the population for the purposes of traffic stops or investigations.

Investigative detentions, traffic stops, arrests, searches and property seizures by officers will be based on a standard of reasonable suspicion or probable cause in accordance with the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

The Reno Police Department, and police departments across the country, are facing the phenomenon of racial profiling and working hard to determine the best way to address this issue. Prior to the implementation of mandated data collection by the Nevada State legislature, the Reno Police Department already understood the need to measure the existence and pervasiveness of racial profiling. To that end, the Department has begun studying data collection methods and research methodology. Using the expertise that was gained during this period, the Department then became an integral partner in the development of the data collection program and the implementation of AB 500.

Much has transpired in the area of data collection and benchmarking during the mandated year-long collection period, during which information from experts throughout the nation was gathered and evaluated.

Our research, and input from these experts in the field of racial profiling, has led us to believe that benchmarking traffic stops with census data does not provide an accurate reflection of the driving public in Reno. The "Point to Point" benchmarking methodology has proven valid in several states and federal courts. It has been deemed by many experts to be the most practical method of benchmarking to date.

The City of Reno contracted with Dr. John Lamberth of Lamberth Consulting, and Dr. Eric Herzik of the University of Nevada at Reno, to conduct analyses of traffic and pedestrian stops. The researchers analyze traffic stop data collected from January 1, 2004, until December 31, 2004, and pedestrian stop data collected from July 1, 2004, until June 30, 2005.

Furthermore, Dr. Herzik and Dr. Lamberth were hired to study the demographic breakdown of Reno's annual Hot August Nights (H.A.N.) event and police behavior.  According to the 2003 H.A.N. study, "We find there is no evidence that arrests based on ethnicity or race differ in any significant or substantial way from the expected levels based upon crowd characteristics."

In the 2004 H.A.N. study, Dr. Herzik found a quieter event than H.A.N. 2003.  The 2004 study concluded that "There is no evidence of biased policing by the RPD linked to race, ethnicity, or age in the pedestrian arrests recorded during H.A.N. 2004."  Both the 2003 and 2004 Hot August Nights Demographic Studies can be obtained by contacting Dr. Eric Herzik at the University of Nevada at Reno or by contacting the Reno Police Department.

Additionally, the Reno Police Department believes that a continuous and open dialogue with the community during each state of the implementation of any impartial policing program is essential. The Impartial Policing Advisory Council (IPAC) was developed with this goal in mind. The Council currently consists of members from several community groups including the NAACP, NNBCAS, ACLU, and Nevada Hispanic Services. The Vice President of Diversity at the University of Nevada, Reno, is also a current member. IPAC is coordinated through the City Manager's Office under the facilitation of the Police Auditor, Donna Clontz.

The Reno Police Department will continue to search for the best practices and plans to remain on the leading edge to combat racially-biased policing.

For more information, or if you have any questions, please contact the following persons at the Reno Police Department:

Cmdr. Shannon Wiecking
Email: wieckings@reno.gov

Traffic Stops: What To Do If You're Stopped By a Law Enforcement Officer

Paradas de Trafico: Que Hacer Si Usted Esta Parado Por un Oficial de la Ley

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