SB 559
Modifies provisions relating to racial profiling in policing
LR Number:
Last Action:
3/18/2015 - Second Read and Referred S Judiciary and Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence Committee
Journal Page:
Calendar Position:
Effective Date:
August 28, 2015

Current Bill Summary

SB 559 - This act creates definitions for "benchmark", "biased policing", "contraband", "disparity index", "hit rate", "law enforcement activity", and "pedestrian stops" for purposes of a statute requiring the reporting of certain information regarding stops by law enforcement officers.

Under current law, law enforcement officers must report certain information regarding motor vehicle stops, which is then analyzed by the Attorney General and released in an annual report. This act requires law enforcement officers to also report certain information regarding pedestrian stops and modifies the information that must be reported by law enforcement officers.

Under this act, no information revealing the identity of any individual law enforcement officer may be contained in the report of motor vehicle and pedestrian stops provided to the Attorney General.

This act specifies that the Attorney General must analyze the annual reports from law enforcement agencies using best practices and include a meaningful benchmark against which to measure data. A list of suggested benchmark measures is provided.

Current law requires law enforcement agencies to adopt a policy on race-based traffic stops that contains certain elements and provides that the Governor may withhold state funds from noncompliant agencies. This act requires each law enforcement agency to adopt a detailed written policy and changes the provisions that must be included in the policy. The Governor must withhold state funds if the law enforcement agency does not report or submits incomplete reports.

Under this act, each law enforcement agency must annually review the data collected by their officers and the report of the Attorney General to determine whether individual officers in the agency have a pattern of stopping, searching, or arresting minorities. If the review determines there is a pattern of disparity, the agency must require an investigation to determine whether the agency or its officers routinely engage in biased policing. The agency must provide appropriate counseling and training of officers found to have engaged in biased policing within 90 days of the review and the officers must be removed from patrol until completion of the counseling and training.

This act requires each law enforcement agency to create a community and law enforcement partnership.

Any law enforcement agency that reports a stop or consent search disparity index for any minority group that is one standard deviation above the corresponding statewide indices for that same group for three consecutive years is subject to a review period for three years. During the review period, the agency must provide semi-annual reports to the Attorney General concerning stop information and a narrative describing the efforts of the agency to address racial disparities in stops and searches. If the agency's disparity indices remain one standard deviation or more above the statewide indices in the second year of review, the Attorney General must require changes in the agency's policies and practices. If the agency's disparity indices remain one standard deviation or more above the statewide indices in the third year of review, the agency must lose state funds and the Peace Officer Standards and Training Commission must review the agency to determine whether the agency should be decertified.

This act provides that violation of the racial profiling law is automatic grounds for civil suit by anyone claiming racial profiling by law enforcement. In addition, law enforcement agencies and peace officers are not immune to civil litigation or generally applicable damages or remedies.