profiling occurs when, whether intentionally or unintentionally,
an officer applies his or her own personal, societal, or organizational
biases or stereotypes when making decisions or taking police
action, and the ONLY reason for that decision or action is
because of a person’s race, ethnicity, background, gender,
sexual orientation, religion, economic status, age, culture
or other personal characteristic, rather than due to the observed
behavior of the individual or the identification of the individual
as being, having been, or about to be engaged in criminal
is the Clay County Sheriff's Office policy on bias-based profiling?
It is the policy of the Clay County Sheriff's Office to protect
the constitutional rights of all people, regardless of race,
color, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, physical handicap,
religion or other belief system or physical characteristic;
and to treat each person with respect and dignity. While contacting
persons in a variety of situations is not only routine, but
also germane to law enforcement activities, the agency will
not accept or tolerate bias-based profiling.
are here to protect the community: Law enforcement officers
are required to use skills developed through observation,
training and experience in order to identify suspicious circumstances,
unusual occurrences and violations of law (municipal ordinance,
criminal and traffic), and to act according to the situation.
We contact people who, according to our training, experience,
and knowledge, are in a place or are acting in a way to make
us believe that a crime was committed, is about to be committed
or is in the process of being committed. This proactive approach
aids in the detection and apprehension of criminals, maintains
the safety of our streets and highways, and protects our citizens
and community from crime.
We want to do the right thing: Discriminatory enforcement
practices can alienate our citizens, foster distrust of police
in the community, invite media scrutiny, legislative action
and judicial intervention, and potentially lead to allegations
of constitutional and civil rights violations. As we perform
our duties, it is imperative that we afford all citizens the
Constitutional and fundamental right to equal protection under
We use accepted investigative tools: Criminal profiling is
one of many accepted and necessary law enforcement investigative
practices. However, it differs from and should not be confused
with bias-based profiling. One is an investigative tool; the
other, a discriminatory practice.
What is criminal profiling? When we investigate crime, we
use every legitimate tool at our disposal to narrow the list
of potential suspects so we can identify, find and arrest
those responsible for the crimes, to bring them to justice
and to keep them from committing more acts against society.
Criminal profiling can assist us by narrowing the field of
potential suspects in major criminal investigations. Based
on current and historical law enforcement investigative knowledge
and experience, we scrutinize a set of facts and factors common
to specific (e.g., serial murder with a certain ‘signature’)
or general (e.g., narcotics trafficking) criminal activity.
From these facts and factors, we may be able to identify a
type of person or group of people by gender, age, race, and/or
by personality, social, and/or other characteristics who are
most likely to be involved. This can result in fewer suspects
to consider and a quicker resolution to the case.
How does criminal profiling differ from bias-based profiling?
While criminal profiling does add elements (such as gender,
race, or ethnicity) to a list of factors scrutinized to identify
a suspect, these elements are only parts of several pieces
of the puzzle that police must put together to solve crime.
For information on this topic, or any other department policy,
contact the CCSO Compliance Unit at (904) 264-6512.