Lewis Griswold

A sheriff says having to collect racial profiling data detracts from fighting crime

A rally was held in Fresno before the start of a meeting of the Racial and Identity Profiling Advisory Board.
A rally was held in Fresno before the start of a meeting of the Racial and Identity Profiling Advisory Board. acastillo@fresnobee.com

Kings County Sheriff David Robinson has written a letter to the state attorney general expressing concerns about the Racial and Identity Profiling Act of 2015 and how it will work on the ground.

When officers make a stop, they must report the perceived race, gender and age of the person or people stopped. Other data to be collected includes date and time, type of stop, if an arrest was made or citation was issued, and if a search was conducted and what was found.

Assembly Bill 953 took effect last year, and large law enforcement agencies must start reporting next year, with the smallest agencies starting in 2023.

Robinson is a member of the Racial and Identity Profiling Advisory Board, which met in Fresno last week to accept public comments about additional information officers should collect. The board will make recommendations to the state Department of Justice, which has until Jan. 1, 2018, to establish regulations.

“I would like the Attorney General to scale back the regulations to the original list as outlined in the final version of AB953,” Robinson wrote. “The draft regulations have morphed into more than 200 possible data collection points.”

Gathering that much information and inputting it by the end of each shift could cost the state many millions of dollars in staff time, he said in the letters.

Officers could spend 10 to 45 minutes checking data boxes, and there was a recent suggestion to write a narrative, which would consume more time, he said.

“It’s going to take officers off the street,” he said.

Racial profiling, in which people are stopped simply because of their race, already is illegal; the new law adds a reporting requirement and expands the law.

But in Kings County, complaints of racial profiling are rare, Robinson said. There has been one formal complaint in the last six years.

“We want our deputies to just enforce the law equally and fairly across the board, regardless of the race, age or sexual preference,” Robinson said.

The Tulare County Sheriff’s Department has had no formal complaints in 14 years, while Visalia police said they’ve had no formal complaints in three years. Both agencies said they will wait for regulations to be established.

“It’s the law, it’s going to happen,” Visalia police Capt. Steve Phillips said. “We would prefer they stick to the law as passed. Every piece of data adds cost.”

K9 BOSCO: Retired Visalia police K9 Bosco died Friday after a recent battle with cancer.

Bosco, a Belgian Malinois, came to Visalia in 2004 when he was 2 years old. He was assigned to Officer Clay Moffett and served until 2010.

Bosco assisted with numerous cases, most notably in 2006 when he suffered two stab wounds during the apprehension of an armed suspect. He underwent surgery and returned to the streets. Bosco received the department’s first ever K9 Medal of Valor for the incident.

He earned several other awards.

In 2007, he earned the Animal Rescue Hero award from the American Red Cross. He also participated in Sierra K9 Trials, earning several trophies, including consecutive Top Dog Awards in 2009 and 2010.

In retirement, Bosco remained with Moffett and his family. Bosco enjoyed sunbathing and spending time with the family’s children.

VISALIA BRAG: Visalia officials were interested to learn that national chains do well in Visalia compared to their operations in other cities in California.

In the third quarter last year, Red Robin Burgers & Spirits was the chain’s No. 2 performer out of 55 stores statewide. Hometown Buffet was No. 7 out of 81.

In retail, J.C. Penney was No. 12 of 70 stores. Hobby Lobby was No. 8 of 32.

The rankings were compiled by a consultant who analyzes sales tax data.

“Our restaurant base has done well,” City Councilman Steve Nelsen said.

But the numbers are unlikely to convince Trader Joe’s that Visalia should get a store, Nelsen said. Lobbying for a Trader Joe’s has been a popular cause. There even is a Facebook page – Bring Trader Joe’s to Visalia. The closest store is in Fresno.

HOT HOTELS: A Home2 Suites Hilton hotel is being proposed on Plaza Drive in Visalia, north of a Chevron station, said Devon Jones, Visalia’s economic development manager.

The extended-stay hotel would feature modern decor, sustainable design and pet-friendly rooms. If built, it would be the first in California, the city believes.

Meanwhile, work has begun on a Marriott Residence Inn, also on Plaza Drive, east of Fresno Pacific University’s Visalia campus.

Lewis Griswold covers news of the South Valley for The Bee: 559-441-6104, @fb_LewGriswold