SDPD Works To Meet Anti-Profiling Law’s Deadline Without Key Staffer
Thursday, March 14, 2019
Credit: Milan Kovacevic
The San Diego Police Department must meet an upcoming deadline under a state law intended to combat racial profiling, but the agency is lacking the employee it had hoped to hire to help complete the task.
The Racial and Identity Profiling Act requires California law enforcement officers document the race, ethnicity, gender, age and other details about people they stop. The eight largest agencies, including the San Diego police and sheriff's departments, must share that information with the state by April 1. A board will review the data to assess if officers are policing people based on their looks anbd make policy and training recommendations.
SDPD planned to hire a data analyst to help upload information it collected on people stopped from July through December last year. San Diego Police Lt. Jeff Jordon said that turned out to be about 90,000 entries, but the agency was unable to find a proper candidate for the analyst role.
“There were a number of parties that interviewed for it. Either they lacked the skills or we didn’t think they’d be a right fit for that position,” said Jordon, head of special projects.
The agency re-assigned and trained two officers that were on limited duty to complete the process. Jordon said the officers have already begun uploading information to the California Department of Justice, which he estimated will take two weeks to complete, partially because SDPD's system can only handle a limited amount of data each day.
"Some of our infrastructure within our computer and our IT networks have not been updated in some time,” Jordon said. "We’re in the process of making significant upgrades to our information programming, our IT network. As we make those upgrades, hopefully, it’ll go a little bit smoother, but we’re in a transitional period."
Jordon said the Department of Justice experienced complications with its system as well. He said it was down Thursday morning due to an update, preventing SDPD from uploading information until the afternoon. Rishi Khalsa, a spokesman for the state agency, confirmed on Friday the update occurred and said the office scheduled it during what it considered non-peak hours. Khalsa said he was not aware of any other outages.
Still, Jordon said the upload process could be completed by the end of next week, just ahead of the April 1 deadline.
The department’s search for a data analyst will go on as the continued collection of identity information and annual uploads to the state are required under the new mandate. SDPD is also negotiating an agreement with a research university to produce a local analysis of the data officers collected.
Seven other agencies in California must upload data to the state Department of Justice by April 1. That includes the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department. A representative for the sheriff's department said in an email that the agency had 36,837 entries to share and has not experienced any upload challenges.
The information from each law enforcement agency will be analyzed and published in a report due next January from the Racial and Identity Profiling Advisory Board. Smaller police agencies have more time to collect and upload data, which will be included in later reports from the board.
The San Diego Police Department is without an employee needed to help meet a looming deadline that’s part of a new state mandate.
Editor's note: This story has been updated to include new comments from a spokesman for the state Department of Justice.
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