AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - Law enforcement agencies across the state are required to compile and report racial profiling data. Tuesday afternoon, Chief Robert Taylor with the Amarillo Police Department presented its report to city council during work session.
Of the 25,578 stops conducted by Amarillo Police last year, nearly half of the drivers pulled over were Caucasian. 40% were Hispanic, the largest jump from the year prior in any demographic.
"I think those were attributed to the large influx of immigrants coming across the border," said Taylor. "We know over the last couple of years there's been ten's of thousands of Hispanics coming across from Central America and Mexico into Texas and across the United States and certainly those people do not speak English, they don't understand our customs and laws and are libel to be stop by the police."
The reports also shows traffic stops for minorities exceed their percentage in the community -- which for Hispanics is 29%. This is something the city will take a closer look at.
"It's an opportunity to go back and talk about the data," said Amarillo City Council Member Elisha Demerson. "I'll be talking with the city manager and ask 'do we have a concern?', yes or no."
Since 2007, there have only been seven accusations of racial profiling in Amarillo by the police department, none were substantiated.
"One of the biggest things that helps us determine whether those complaints are founded or not is the in car video that we have," said Taylor.
At this point Chief Taylor says there is no racial profiling at the APD and they say they make diversifying the department a priority.
"We do a lot of recruiting in minority areas and across the state of Texas," said Taylor. "We're actually expanding into other states to try attract more people to the police department."
"I applaud the police department for their efforts in being transparent," said Demerson.
Chief Taylor says since the department is in compliance with the state, they will not be making any changes. Officers will, however, continue to periodically go through racial profiling training.