Pub. date: 2002 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412950664 | Print ISBN: 9780761922582 | Online ISBN: 9781412950664| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Brian L. Withrow
Race-based policing, sometimes referred to as racial profiling, is best described as a practice whereby a police officer makes a law enforcement decision, for example, a decision to stop a motorist, primarily on the basis of the motorist's race or ethnicity. During the last years of the twentieth century, serious charges of racism were leveled against some of the nation's largest police departments because of the disparity that exists between the proportion of minority drivers in a population and the proportion of minorities that are stopped, searched, or issued a traffic citation. There is a growing perception that some police officers and/or their departments are highly—and inappropriately—influenced by the race or ethnicity of the driver when making a decision to stop a vehicle and then, subsequent to the stop, conduct a search of the vehicle. Preliminary evidence suggests that a correlation exists at least between the race of the driver ...