Police chief weighs in on TN bill to ban racial profiling - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Police chief weighs in on TN bill to ban racial profiling

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Chattanooga Police Department Chief Fred Fletcher. WRCBtv.com photo Chattanooga Police Department Chief Fred Fletcher. WRCBtv.com photo
Legislation introduced in the Tennessee General Assembly would require all of the state's law enforcement agencies to adopt written policies to ban racial profiling.
The Chattanooga Police Department has had a policy addressing bias-based profiling since 2006.

"It is amongst the most serious offenses,' said CPD Chief Fred Fletcher. "I have personally communicated that I consider it the most serious of offenses. It won't be tolerated."

Chief Fletcher said his department's policy works and he points to numbers to prove it. In 2013, there were no internal affairs investigations related to bias-based profiling or harassment. In 2012, there were two complaints and investigations.

"Any department that I'm leading will have a strict policy against bias based profiling,' he said. "I think most police executives you meet will feel the exact same way. I feel we should have whatever laws the community feels is necessary to have the kind of policing they expect."

Fletcher said he supports a bill requiring all departments to adopt a similar policy.

The bill is sponsored by Republican Sen. Brian Kelsey of Germantown and Democratic Rep. John Deberry of Memphis. Kelsey said in a release Thursday that the measure comes in response to the fatal shooting of an unarmed teenager, Michael Brown, in Ferguson, Missouri, and the demonstrations that have followed a grand jury decision not to indict police officer Darren Wilson.

In Kelsey's words: "Whether you agree with the decision of Ferguson or not, we should all agree that racial profiling has no place in law enforcement in our state."

"Changing the policies and procedures of police is absolutely critical," said Ash-Lee Henderson with Concerned Citizens for Justice. "And having something on paper about racial profiling is an important thing. That would definitely be a victory for the movement. What we're going to need even more than the policy is to make sure that the procedures are enforced by the police."    
The Legislature kicks off its annual session on Jan. 13.

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