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Bias Based Profiling

Criminal Profiling vs. Bias-Based Profiling:

The Critical Difference

Pursuing criminals and protecting rights – a delicate balance. A fundamental right guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States to all who live in this nation is to the equal protection under the law. Along with this right to equal protection is the fundamental right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures by government agents. Citizens are free to walk and drive our streets, highways, and other public places without police interference so long as they obey the law. They also are entitled to be free from crime, and from the depredations of criminals, and to drive and walk our public ways safe from the actions of reckless and careless drivers. The Naples Police Department is charged with protecting these rights for all, regardless of race, color, ethnicity, sex, sexual orientation, physical handicap, religion or other belief system.

Because of the nature of their business, law enforcement officers are required to be observant, to identify unusual occurrences and law violations, and to act upon them. It is this proactive enforcement that keeps our citizens free from crime, our streets and highways safe to drive upon, and that detects and apprehends criminals. It is the policy of the Naples Police Department to patrol and police in a proactive manner, to aggressively investigate suspicious persons and circumstances, and to actively enforce the motor vehicle laws, while insisting that citizens will only be stopped or detained when there exists reasonable suspicion to believe they have committed, are committing, or are about to commit an infraction of the law. The Naples Police Department strictly prohibits bias-based profiling in traffic contacts, field contacts, and in asset seizure and forfeiture efforts.

The manner in which our police officers go about identifying potential suspects in the commission of a crime is crucial, as it is for any organization that places a premium on the rights of the individual. Based on their training, knowledge and experience, Naples Police Officers contact potential suspects based on their behavior and other factors that provide evidence that they have committed a crime, are engaging in criminal activity, or are about to commit a crime. In conducting criminal investigations, the Naples Police Department uses accepted, legitimate and necessary investigative tools, including criminal profiling. Criminal profiling differs from and should not be confused with bias-based profiling. One is an investigative tool; the other, a discriminatory practice.

If you feel you have been a victim of bias-based profiling in the City of Naples, you have the right to report your concerns to the Police Department. The Naples Police Department’s policy concerning complaints of bias-based profiling is as follows:

  • Any person may file a complaint with the department if they feel they have been stopped or searched as a result of bias-based profiling, and no person shall be discouraged, intimidated, or coerced from filing such a complaint, or discriminated against because they have filed such a complaint.
  • Any officer contacted by a person who wishes to file such a complaint, shall provide the citizen with a copy of a citizen complaint form which may be mailed or delivered in person to headquarters, and shall record the person's name, address, and telephone number, and report the contact to the officer's supervisor prior to the end of the shift.
  • All such complaints are reviewed by Command Staff, the complaint is acknowledged to the complainant in writing, and the complainant is informed of the results of the department's review within a reasonable period of time.
  • Complaints can be filed with an agency supervisor in person at the police station, by calling the Naples Police Department non-emergency number (239) 213-4844 and requesting a supervisor, or by mailing comments directly to the Chief of Police at 355 Riverside Circle, Naples, Florida 34102.

Bias-based profiling issues, including legal aspects, are provided to sworn members of the agency during in-service training and in accordance with the Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission (CJSTC) requirements. Numerous policies incorporate the prohibition of bias-based profiling and members are responsible for ensuring all members of the community are treated with dignity and respect.

If you have any questions, or would like more information regarding the Naples Police Departments policies prohibiting bias-based profiling, please contact the Professional Standards Bureau at 239-213-4874.