Central Texas cities begin to release racial profiling reports

(File)

(KWTX) Several Central Texas police agencies have started releasing their 2018 reports on racial profiling.

The racial profile reports break down the number of traffic stops each police department makes, along with the race of each person pulled over throughout the year.

Belton police presented their report to the city council on Tuesday.

In 2018, Belton officers made more than 7,000 stops.

The majority were made were of whites at nearly 5,000.

Hispanics made up a little over 1,200 blacks made up a little over 1,100 stops.

When compared to city data, nearly 60 percent of all residents are white, with them making up 65 percent of the stops.

Hispanics make up nearly 30 percent with around 17 percent of stops.

Meanwhile, stops involving black people accounted for 15 percent, but the group comprises a little over eight percent of the city's population.

The department said it strictly prohibits peace officers from engaging in racial profiling and that less than 10 percent of those stops were made when an officer already knew the race of the person they were stopping.

Down Highway 190 in Copperas Cove, officers there made nearly 10,000 stops.

Of them, 54 percent of the people stopped were white; 33 percent were black and 13 percent Hispanic.

Only eight percent of the stops led to searches.

When percentages of stops are compared side by side with the number of searches, Copperas Coves numbers are very similar across the different races.

In McLennan County’s biggest city, the Waco Police Department reported 47 percent of its stops involved white people, 26 percent were black and 26 percent Hispanics.
However, when it came to searches, blacks made up the majority at 44 percent.

"There is always room for improvement, but this is an accountability factor for our city,” Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton said.

“It's important for a community to be able to work with us and trust us and know that we're doing the right thing out there on the streets."

KWTX reached out to other departments in Central Texas, and they said they are still working on their annual reports.

The deadline to submit to the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement is March 1.