Race and Policing
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To better understand the Nebraska landscape on law enforcement agencies' efforts to end racial profiling, the ACLU of Nebraska utilized census data to identify 12 of Nebraska's most populous and racially diverse counties. We sent an open records request to every law enforcement agency in those 12 counties, for a total of 23 agencies that included city police, county sheriffs, and the Nebraska State Patrol. Note that two of the 23 law enforcement agencies did not respond to our request: Johnson County Sheriff's office and Schuyler Police Department. Our open records request sought two categories of information: 1) whether the agency had an anti-racial profiling policy and 2) information about any anti-bias trainings or implicit bias trainings attended by any member of the agency in the last two years.
Nebraska has 244 public school districts educating nearly 324,000 children. Approximately twenty-four percent of Nebraska public school students are people of color. Consistent with national trends, students of color are disproportionately overrepresented in schools contracting with law enforcement agencies to place police in schools. According to the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) data, during the 2015-2016 school year, 1,502 Nebraska students in public schools with school police were referred to law enforcement by their school. Additionally, some counties in Nebraska have schools with police, but no counselor, social worker, or nurse.In Nebraska, consistent with national trends, there is a growing practice of using police officers in our schools. Despite this trend, there is no state-specific data on school police aside from the federal data collected by the OCR. The OCR requires schools to report the demographic data of those students referred to law enforcement and the number of law enforcement officers found in each school district, yet it does not track other important metrics. As reflected in this report, we have an incomplete, yet disturbing picture of these programs.
Every year since Nebraska began collecting racial profiling data in 2002, the data has shown there is a problem. This graphic summarizes some of the most disturbing findings from the 2013 data provided by law enforcement agencies around the state.
Tasers release 50,000 volts of electricity that jolt the body's central nervous system. While often classified as a "less-lethal" weapon, Amnesty International reports that there have been over 540 Taser-related deaths in the United States in the past thirteen years.
The report reviewed data collected by the Nebraska Crime Commission. The ACLU's analysis of the data found that "profiling in Nebraska traffic stops disproportionately and negatively affects communities of colors." The ACLU report focuses on three findings: 1) People of color are more likely to be pulled over. 2) People of color are more likely to be arrested: a white driver has a 1 in 48 chance of being arrested compared to a 1 in 13 chance for drivers of color. The data showed that there was not a significant difference in the actual offenses committed by the drivers. 3) People of color are more likely to be subjected to searches.