Texas A&M System to analyze racial profiling data from police stops


Thursday, July 9, 2020

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Tarleton State University’s Dr. Alex del Carmen will lead scholars and academicians from across The Texas A&M University System to analyze data racial profiling reported by law enforcement agencies.

It will be the first comprehensive study of traffic stop data from Texas law enforcement in accordance with the Sandra Bland Act. Sandra Bland was a 28-year old Prairie View A&M alumna who died in the Waller County Jail in 2015. Her arrest followed a lengthy argument between her and the Department of Public Safety trooper who arrested her. Video of her arrest was documented by the officer’s dashboard camera.

“Impartial research such as this can inform public policy with facts and that benefits us all,” said John Sharp, chancellor of The Texas A&M University System. “The Texas A&M University System is duty bound to do no less.”

The A&M System group studying the data consists of teams emphasizing research, teaching, instruction and service. Del Carmen will lead the research team.

Dr. del Carmen is a leading national expert on racial profiling in policing and with experience in police reform cases. His team will examine the annual racial profiling data submitted by Texas law enforcement agencies during the past year.

“The reputation of Dr. del Carmen and Tarleton’s criminology and criminal justice programs are widely known,” said Tarleton President James Hurley. “The choice to have him lead this high-profile research project on a socially significant topic proves that.”

Dr. del Carmen, associate dean of the College of Liberal Arts’ School of Criminology, Criminal Justice and Strategic Studies, served as a federal monitor in two of the largest and most significant police reform cases in U.S. history.

He recently completed his latest book, “Racial Profiling in Policing: Beyond the Basics.”

“Our research group will focus on identifying patterns and practices related to police motor vehicle stops, searches and arrests,” he said. “Now, more than ever, the analysis of police data specific to minorities is crucial to the better understanding and reconciliation of our communities.”

Questions to be raised include whether the officer involved issued a verbal or written warning or a citation as a result of the stop and whether the officer used force that resulted in bodily injury.

This information supplements other data — the driver’s race, whether a search was conducted, and if the officer knew the driver’s race before pulling him or her over — in accordance with the law.

The Sandra Bland Act took effect in 2017 and mandates that county jails divert people with mental health and substance abuse issues toward treatment, makes it easier for defendants to receive a personal bond if they have a mental illness or intellectual disability and requires that independent law enforcement agencies investigate jail deaths.

Tarleton, founding member of The Texas A&M University System, provides a student-focused, value-driven education marked by academic innovation and a dedication to transform today’s scholars into tomorrow’s leaders. It offers degree programs to more than 13,000 students at Stephenville, Fort Worth, Waco, Midlothian, RELLIS Academic Alliance in Bryan, and online, emphasizing real-world learning experiences that address societal needs while maintaining its core values of tradition, integrity, civility, excellence, leadership and service.

About The Texas A&M University System

The Texas A&M University System is one of the largest systems of higher education in the nation with a budget of $6.3 billion. The System is a statewide network of 11 universities; a comprehensive health science center; eight state agencies, including the Texas Division of Emergency Management; and the RELLIS Campus. The Texas A&M System educates more than 151,000 students and makes more than 22 million additional educational contacts through service and outreach programs each year. System-wide, research and development expenditures exceeded $1 billion in FY 2019 and helped drive the state’s economy.

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A founding member of The Texas A&M University System, Tarleton is breaking records — in enrollment, research, scholarship, athletics, philanthropy and engagement — while transforming the lives of more than 15,000 students in Stephenville, Fort Worth, Waco, Midlothian, A&M RELLIS at Bryan and online. True to Tarleton’s values of excellence, integrity, and respect, academic programs emphasize real world learning and address regional, state and national needs.