BIAS-BASED PROFILING is the selection of an individual(s) based solely on a trait common to a group for enforcement action. This includes but is not limited to race, ethnic background, gender, sexual orientation, religion, economic status, age, cultural group or any other identifiable group.
A fundamental right guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States to all who live in this nation is 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 St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office is charged with protecting these rights, for all, regardless of race, ethnic background, gender, sexual orientation, religion economic status, age, cultural group or any other identifiable group.
Because of the nature of law enforcement, Sheriff’s Office members 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 St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office to patrol 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 St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office policy unequivocally states that racial and ethnic profiling in law enforcement is totally unacceptable and provides guidelines to prevent such occurrences. All sworn members receive initial and ongoing training in proactive enforcement tactics, including training in member safety, courtesy, cultural and human diversity, the laws governing search and seizure, and interpersonal communications skills. Training programs emphasize legal aspects of bias-based profiling, in accordance with the Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission (CJSTC) guidelines, and stress the need for each member to respect the right of all citizens to be free from unreasonable government intrusion or police action.
Any person may file a complaint with the Sheriff’s Office if they feel they have been stopped or searched based on racial, ethnic, or gender-based profiling and no person will be discouraged, intimidated, or coerced from filing such a complaint, or be discriminated against because they have filed such a complaint. Depending on the seriousness of the allegations, incidents may be investigated at the level of the first line supervisor or by some other person or unit as appropriate. If the complainant is not satisfied with the initial outcome, the complainant will be directed to file a complaint with the Internal Affairs Unit to be investigated. Dependent of the findings of each complaint, as well as the specific factors involved, corrective measures will be taken to remedy violations of the policy.
If you feel you have been the victim of bias-based profiling, you are encouraged to contact the Sheriff’s Office at 772-462-3627 as soon as possible.