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Chief: Profiling isn’t an issue

NEDERLAND —Nederland Police Chief Gary Porter said Jefferson County’s demographics explain why black drivers are involved in 13 percent of the department’s traffic stops, which only 2 percent of the city is black.

The department released its report on racial profiling during a City Council meeting this week. This was the first year the department was required to file a full report as part of the Sandra Bland Act.

“In years past, we filed an exempt report,” Porter said. “We had to collect very little data. This year, we collected our data through Tyler Technology and Brazos. That’s the IT companies that do the software. If our officer stops a vehicle or makes a pedestrian stop, he either issues a warning or citation. It’s downloaded into our system where we can pull the data.”

In 2018, the department stopped 5,638 vehicles and pedestrians. Of those stops, the department issued 1,824 citations and 3,810 warnings. Here’s the breakdown of who was stopped:

• Alaskan/ Native American Indian received 24 citations and 40 warnings.

• Asians/ Pacific Islanders received 21 citations and 65 warnings.

• People identifying as black received 227 citation and 469 warnings.

• Hispanic/ Latinos received 190 citations and 261 warnings.

• People who identified as white received 1,314 citations and 2,975 warnings.

Nederland demographic makeup, according to census data, is:

Alaskan/Native Americans received 1 percent of the stops, while representing 0 percent of the population.

Asians/Pacific Islanders received 2.3 percent of the stops, while making up 2 percent of the population.

People identifying as black received 13 percent of the stops, while making up 2.6 percent of the population.

Hispanic/Latinos received 8 percent of the stops, while making up 15.4 percent of the population.

People identifying as white made up 76 percent of the stops, while making up 80 percent of the population.

“I personally believe our demographics are best illustrated by looking at Jefferson County,” Porter said. “We have two major highways and Nederland Avenue that catch a huge amount of lunch traffic.”

Jefferson county demographics reflect this breakdown:

• Alaskan/Native American — 1 percent

• Asian/Pacific Islander — 4.1 percent

• Black — 34.3 percent

• Hispanic/ Latino — 20.8 percent

• White — 59 percent

Of the listed races, only Hispanic/Latinos were cited on 50 percent of their stops. The department wrote citations during 32 percent of their stops, on average.

“Taking all of that into consideration, I do not think there is any reliable information that we are involved in any racial profiling at the Nederland Police Department,” Porter said. “We received no complaints of racial profiling at the department. I think we are well within the guidelines.”