General Order 26.2
FAIR & IMPARTIAL POLICING

Last Revised: 03-01-2017

SUBJECT: FAIR & IMPARTIAL POLICING

This order consists of the following numbered sections:

26.2.1    Purpose

26.2.2    Policy

26.2.3    Definitions

26.2.4    Fair & Impartial Treatment

26.2.5    Required Training

26.2.6    Accountability

26.2.1 Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to emphasize this department’s commitment to unbiased, equitable treatment of all persons in enforcing the law and providing police services.

26.2.2 Policy

Maintenance of public trust and confidence in the police is critical to effective policing and is achieved largely through fair and equitable treatment of the public. This is a basic requirement of law enforcement and the right of all persons in our society. All persons having contact with members of this department will be treated in a nonpartisan, fair, equitable, and objective manner, in accordance with law, and without consideration of their race, color, national origin, or other individual characteristics or distinctions as defined in this policy.

26.2.3 Definitions

I.    Biased Policing: Discrimination in the performance of law enforcement duties or delivery of police services, based on personal prejudices or partiality of members that interferes with their professional judgment, or training, departmental policy, or adherence to law. Bias-based policing—also referred to in some instances as “profiling”—includes but is not limited to prejudicial decisions affecting individuals in classes protected by federal and state law. It also includes, for example, persons with whom members have such “personal involvement” that they cannot act impartially, as defined herein.

II.    Equal Treatment: In the present context, equal treatment means that persons, irrespective of race or other distinction, will be treated in the same basic manner under the same or similar circumstances. This does not mean that all persons in the same or similar circumstances can or must be treated identically in all cases. Reasonable concessions and accommodations may be, and sometimes should be made, when dealing with individuals with physical or mental disabilities, injury, illness, infirmity, or similar conditions, or when information about them necessitates different treatment.

III.    Police Service Functions: Sometimes referred to as community caretaking functions, these are actions and activities that may not directly include enforcement of the law but that contribute to the overall well-being and safety of the public. These include but are not limited to such tasks as assistance at fire scenes, traffic accidents, and medical emergencies, lifesaving services, crime prevention, preventive patrol, traffic control, public information, education, assistance, and similar activities.

26.2.4 Fair and Impartial Treatment

I.    Fair and Equal Treatment

A.    Bias-based policing is prohibited both in enforcement of the law and the delivery of police services.

B.    Members may not use race, ethnic background, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, economic status, age, or cultural group as the sole criteria for determining when or how to take enforcement action or provide police services.

C.    Members must articulate specific facts and inferences drawn from those facts that establish reasonable suspicion or probable cause to take any enforcement action.

D.    Members will take equivalent enforcement actions and provide equivalent services to all persons in the same or similar circumstances.

E.    Members who cannot make objective judgments that are uninfluenced by prejudicial views or attitudes, intolerance to or preference for certain individuals that are unrelated to the situation at hand will, as soon as reasonably possible, request that another officer assume responsibility for the matter.

F.    Unless exigent circumstances exist, members will not engage in a law enforcement matter when it involves a family member, friend, or relative such that the officer’s objectivity may be, or may appear to be, compromised.

G.    Members who are personally involved in enforcement actions will summon other members for assistance or intervention where reasonably possible unless the officer is the victim of a crime.

H.    Nothing in this policy prohibits members from using the traits and characteristics of persons, such as race, ethnicity, or national origin in combination with other facts to assist in establishing reasonable suspicion or probable cause in the same manner that members would use hair color, height, weight, or gender for such purposes.

26.2.5 Required Training

All members will receive basic and in-service training and, where deemed necessary, remedial training as defined by the training sergeant and supervisors on subjects related to police ethics, cultural diversity, implicit/explicit bias, police-citizen interaction, standards of conduct, conducting motor vehicle stops, and related topics suitable for preventing incidents of biased policing.

26.2.6 Accountability

I.    Members who witness or who are aware of instances of bias-based policing will report the incident to their supervisor as soon as practical.

II.    The department takes allegations of bias-based policing seriously. All such complaints will be forwarded to the department’s Professional Standards office for investigation. (see General Order 52.1)

III.    The Professional Standards office will maintain data relating specifically to complaints of biased policing. Information will be provided to the Chief annually in a manner most suitable for administrative review, problem identification, and development of appropriate corrective actions.