News 4 does ride along with local PD accused of racial profiling - KMOV.com

News 4 does ride along with local PD accused of racial profiling

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If a police department is more likely to pull over blacks than whites, they usually don't want to talk about it, but some will.

The Creve Coeur Police Department allowed News 4 to ride-along to see how it is trying to eliminate the possibility of racial profiling in that department. Creve Coeur Officer Cory Mueller showed News 4's Craig Cheatham some of things he looks for to reduce risk on the busy streets and highways running through the city.

"On the highway we're talking about people going 15-20 miles an hour over the speed limit, traveling unnecessarily close to the car in front of them or making several lane changes without yielding to the vehicles in front of them," said Mueller.

The emphasis of Officer Mueller and other Creve Coeur officers has changed in recent years. Now, the emphasis is on safety and finding solutions to dangerous areas, not simply writing more tickets.

Officer Mueller pulled over a car for swerving and switching lanes suddenly near an intersection. The driver said she was lost.

During the stop Officer Mueller entered key information about the stop into a computer that stores it and eventually goes into an annual report published by the Missouri Attorney General's office.

In the Attorney General's 2013 vehicle stops report, the most recent one available, blacks driving in Creve Coeur were twice as likely as whites to be pulled over by police. Creve Coeur is part of a much larger area identified by the St. Louis NAACP as a high risk zone for alleged racial profiling. The NAACP identified eight communities where blacks are more likely to be pulled over, searched and arrested. Those towns are Brentwood, Clayton, Frontenac, Ladue, Olivette, Richmond Heights, Town and Country, and Creve Coeur.

Creve Coeur was the only one that allowed News 4 this kind of access.

Lieutenant Jon Ramos says the department uses a computer system to track information on each officer, and issue a monthly report on their actions, giving supervisors and command staff alerts if there's a red flag such as possible racial profiling.

"If their percentage was high for the month, they bring in the officer and meet with the officer and discuss what may have been happening that month. If it happens again, we may go to counseling and training as well," said Ramos.

Ramos believes any measure that suggests Creve Coeur profiles drivers by race is unfair, and doesn't consider the more than 300,000 motorists driving through the city of 15,000 residents, something that he believes greatly increases the chance that police will pull over black drivers, and drive up the traffic stops to a point that no longer reflects the city's population.

"To base everything on our population isn't really a fair measure of what reality is" said Ramos.

News 4 also spoke with or received statements from Ladue, Town and Country and Olivette police officials, emphasizing that they discourage racial profiling and do their best to track the actions of officers and address any areas of concern.

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