SDPD announces fight against racial profiling

As tensions roil in Ferguson, Missouri, the subject of relations between police and community members is also in the spotlight in San Diego. Thursday, minority legal groups joined San Diego’s police chief to urge people to report incidents of racial profiling. The message comes from the city’s top cop: “The San Diego Police Department does not, and will not, tolerate any racial profiling or discourteous treatment,” said San Diego Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman.

Zimmerman assured San Diegans in a public service announcement that racial profiling will not be tolerated.

“If you feel there is a problem, we want to know about it.”

In 2001, the San Diego Police Department stopped collecting data related to race. Some legal observers say there was a perception at that time that racial profiling was no longer a community concern.

“We are looking at gathering that data again,” stated President Renee Galenta of La Raza Lawyers Association.

But the groups representing Latino and African-American attorneys in San Diego say racial profiling still takes place. The decision to produce the PSA with Chief Zimmerman is one way to show community members that complaints will be taken seriously.

“They should let SDPD know when there is misconduct and that it does make a difference.”

At a community meeting in southeast San Diego in February, Chief Zimmerman vowed publicly that there would be zero tolerance for officer misconduct.

“We understand it takes years to build up the public trust, but it only takes seconds to start to erode it.”

Collecting the information is just the start to defining a broader solution and building better relations between officer and the people they serve.

“We need to know how to interpret it, what it means and how do we stop racial profiling that does exist,” continued Galenta. “People don’t trust, and that’s a problem right now. And that is the gap that really needs to be bridged for this to do any good.”

“Let’s all work together to make sure we continue to foster the highest standards of community trust,” finished Zimmerman.

The PSA – which is also in Spanish – includes the phone number for a confidential hotline (619) 531-2672 and you do not have to give your name.

Categories: KUSI