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California Briefing / LOS ANGELES

Profiling policy is changed

August 20, 2008|Joel Rubin

After contentious debate over the issue in recent months, members of the Police Commission made changes Tuesday in how the LAPD handles accusations of racial profiling against officers.

The most notable change is the elimination of the term "racial profiling" as a type of complaint that can be filed against an officer. Instead, the department will now use the term "biased policing," in order to include claims based on gender, sexual orientation and the like.

Accusations of discourtesy by an officer will also be refined to identify whether the alleged discourtesy was based on a person's ethnicity, religion or other category.

The changes were approved as part of an extensive presentation to the commission by department officials and an outside expert. In recent months commission members have raised concerns about the fact that in recent years, no claims of racial profiling against officers had been sustained.

During Tuesday's report, department officials highlighted plans to better train officers to be more sensitive to the issue and to more rigorously investigate complaints. Commissioner Rob Saltzman, who has been vocal on the issue, praised department officials for their efforts. He expressed particular enthusiasm for the LAPD's plans, in many cases, to allow officers and their accusers to meet and discuss the incident.

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