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New Racial Profiling Board Meets for First Time Today

Law enforcement officers in California soon will have to record the racial identity of people they stop as part of the state's efforts to curb racial profiling. (Bluegame/iStockphoto)
Law enforcement officers in California soon will have to record the racial identity of people they stop as part of the state's efforts to curb racial profiling. (Bluegame/iStockphoto)
July 8, 2016

LOS ANGELES - In a week where news of police shootings of black men in Louisiana and Minnesota has filled the airwaves, California is taking concrete steps to fight racial profiling - with the first meeting of the new Racial and Identity Profiling Advisory Board today in Los Angeles.

The board was established by state Attorney General Kamala Harris, through legislation passed last fall. The same bill also requires officers to record the perceived racial and identity profiles of every person they stop by 2018.

Daniel Suvor, chief of policy for Harris, said the board will decide how to make the best use of that data.

"Infusing data and metrics into this conversation will bring about accountability and transparency," he said, "because we know how bias is destructive to trust, and debilitating for a lot of communities of color."

Suvor said the goal is to come up with training programs that can restore the relationship of trust between law-enforcement agencies and the communities they serve.

Tim Silard, who serves on the new board, is president of the Rosenberg Foundation, a nonprofit group that focuses on civil rights and criminal justice. He said he is hopeful about the board's potential to make improvements.

"The diversity of folks represents a pretty powerful cross-section of law enforcement, and academics and clergy, and civil rights leaders and community leaders, who would be advocating for sufficient resources behind this effort," he said.

The board is tasked with drafting regulations on how the traffic stop data will be reported, and will produce an annual report on California's progress in eliminating racial profiling.

The meeting is open to the public and is to begin at 10 a.m. today at the Ronald Reagan State Building, 300 S. Spring St., in Los Angeles. It will be livestreamed at oag.ca.gov.

Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - CA