DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – A change in the way officers with the Dallas Police Department are filling out traffic tickets is causing some controversy.
There will now be a section on the tickets that asks if the officer was aware of the race of the driver prior to initiating the traffic stop.
Dallas police chief David Brown would not comment on camera about the change in policy but in an e-mail to CBS 11 News police Lt. C.L. Williams said the new section was the department’s way of collecting the racial profile information that is now required by state law.
Dallas Police Association president Glenn White doesn’t agree with the change. “It doesn’t make sense,” he said.
White says the department has dash cameras in squad cars that are equipped with microphones to collect information and the previous tickets already had a column requiring race information.
According to White, requiring officers to denote whether they knew a person’s race prior to the stop could encourage them to lie.
“If [the information] is turned around the wrong way it could ruin an officer’s career by saying all you do is write tickets to white people or all you do is write tickets to Hispanics,” said White. “Well, if you work in that part of the town that’s all you are going to write tickets to.”
CBS 11 contacted police departments in Irving, Arlington and Fort Worth about their policies. While those departments ask the question, to satisfy the new change in law, officers fill out the information in their squad cars via a computer prompt.
Officials from Garland Police Department said the question is asked on their citations and it has not been a problem for drivers or officers since it’s inception two years ago.