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Profiling vs Stereotyping

Reader comment on item: Does the [New York] Police Department Profile? Should It?

Submitted by Scott Roy (United States), Jun 14, 2006 at 09:41

I emphatically support this measure. Profiling is not wrong and those who say it is are confusing "profiling" with "stereotyping". This is the separation, one is an controlled identification technique and the other is a biased and often prejudicial opinion with little to no support. For example, if LE knows a 6' white male robbed a bank, they are not going to stop 6' black males or 6' white females, they'll go after the individuals who fit the description of said suspect.

A large majority of terrorist attacks both here and abroad were committed by individuals of Middle Eastern descent. So it stands to reason LE would need and should have the right to profile. There are those in the LE community who do violate the system and let their prejudices get in the way of performing their duties honorably but these are isolated cases and there are venues for discipline and punishment for these individuals. This does not mean we should tie the hands of all LE who do conduct themselves appropriately. And even if in the mundane day-to-day, we fall victim to profiling, especially if we happen to match the description of a suspect (it has happened to me), I take comfort in the realization that while stressful, I know they are doing their job trying to protect us and our children. Let's remember to support our LE community in this endeavor. Thank a cop today, he may be the one who saves you tomorrow.


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