Yesterday here at the Opining Quill the topic was compliance with the Racial Profiling Prohibition Act passed in 1999. Coventry was one of the almost rare police departments that have been in compliance with the required reporting. This entire episode is an example of the burdensome State mandate system that needs to be looked at, so here we go.
Back in 1980’s and 90’s minority drivers complained they were routinely stopped in Avon while traveling to a swimming area. In some other locations police seemed to profile out-of-state black drivers as drug couriers. The reaction of the legislature was a rather typical liberal knee jerk reaction by passing a law with mandates attached to address the problem.
Our legislators could all clap their hands and feel good because they had solved a problem and could take credit for politically correct action. Unfortunately with liberal legislators too often it is the intent and not the performance that is the focus of what they do and that was the case here.
Police departments were mandated to provide reports covering each officer and every traffic stop by recording the race and gender of each driver. (Apparently age discrimination was not a concern) Now on the surface that sounds like it would provide a record that could be useful to see any pattern of profiling discrimination. In this case it was just another smoke screen of political puffery to calm a constituency.
You see here in the real world back in 2001 the collection of data and the review of reports was the responsibility of the Chief States Attorney. A report was generated but was so ambiguous it was of minimum value. Then in 2003 the responsibility for collection and analysis was given to the African-American Affairs Commission. They unfortunately did not have the staff or budget to do the job. Was that a problem; apparently not since they never requested additional funds or positions to perform the analysis. Apparently nothing more was done.
When word got out that nothing was being done with the reports some departments just ignored the requirement while others like Coventry continued to follow the law. So there you have it a mandate that has sucked up valuable police time generating reports that have been ignored for years. This is just one example of mandated waste that should be discontinued or action taken to turn it into a valuable tool with proper applications.
Legislation derived from knee jerk political correctness may well provide a feeling of euphoria but the focus should be on results and application. Mandates and laws must have a productive purpose or be abolished. The people of Connecticut deserve better from our legislators in the General Assembly