Gainesville Daily Register

September 3, 2013

Police cite another year free of profile complaints

Staff Report

Gainesville — Staff report

Texas law requires Gainesville Police Department to issue an annual request for complaints or reports of local racial profiling — but the year 2012 resulted in none, just as the year 2011 did.

“I would say it’s professionalism,” explained Belva McClinton, the department’s public information officer.

Senate Bill 1074, enacted by the 77th Texas Legislature mandates that on or before March 1 of each year, police departments will submit to the governing body of the municipality a report concerning the analysis of traffic stop data for the previous calendar year. 

The Gainesville Police Department supports this mandate which prohibits racial profiling in Texas.

“We look at every one of the complaints that come into our building,” said Steven Fleming, the department’s chief of police.

And the Gainesville Police Department has a policy in place that is consistent with all state and federal laws, and the policy also includes provisions for citizens to contact the department should they feel a Gainesville police officer stopped them because of their race or ethnicity. 

Citizens remain urged to contact the department in such cases. If you believe you were stopped based on your race, you may request a racial profiling personnel complaint form.  If a disagreement is over the issuance of a citation, that complaint will need to be addressed with the municipal court. 

If you believe an officer stopped you based on race, you can request to speak to the on duty supervisor to discuss the situation and try to resolve it.  If the issue is not resolved after discussing it, upon request, the supervisor shall provide the person with a complaint form.  The form may be completed and given to the supervisor at the scene or it can be taken home and completed. Also, it can either be brought to the police department or mailed to the Chief of Police.

“The Gainesville Police Department takes racial profiling very seriously and will investigate all complaints made against an officer,” McClinton explained in a recent media release. “Any officer found to be involved in any type of bias-based profiling shall be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination.

“If the investigation reveals a false complaint has been made, charges may be filed against the person submitting the complaint.”

McClinton added that the Gainesville Police Department continually strives to remain a professional agency and that Fleming wants to know about both positive and negative contacts with his officers and personnel.

Comments can be mailed to the chief of police at 201 Santa Fe Street, Gainesville, Texas 76240; or the department is available at (940) 668-7777.