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Missouri 2019-2020 Lesson Summaries

2020 Lesson 5: Racial Profiling/Bias-Based Policing


Release Date:


This lesson is an online interpersonal perspective course on racial profiling/bias-based policing designed to promote: fair, impartial, and unbiased policing practicing; understanding and respect for racial and cultural differences; and the use of effective, noncombative methods for carrying out law enforcement duties in a racially and culturally diverse environment.

This lesson examines federal constitutional prohibitions against racial profiling under both the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments. The lesson considers how biased practices perpetuate racial and other stereotypes and mistrust of law enforcement; how fair and impartial practices promote effective law enforcement; how racial profiling allegations can arise; and Missouri traffic stop data comparing stop and search rates of different racial groups.

The lesson provides prohibitions from the United States Department of Justice that go beyond the constitutional minimum for the use of race, ethnicity, gender, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, and gender identity as a consideration by law enforcement officers. Under these guidelines, it explains when the consideration of race, ethnicity, gender, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, and gender identity is an appropriate (i.e., fair, impartial, and unbiased) policing practice and when it is an inappropriate (i.e., unfair, partial, and biased) policing practice. 

Finally, the lesson addresses differences in how the public and police define racial profiling and evaluate police conduct. It explains how police can use procedural justice as an effective, noncombative method to improve law enforcement/community relations in a racially and culturally diverse environment and reduce the likelihood that the public will perceive police as biased or engaged in racial profiling.

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