DUBUQUE – Police stations around the nation are feeling the heat as accusations of racial profiling in traffic stops continue to build.
Dubuque’s own police department is taking a proactive approach in examining their officers by having a traffic stop study done by St. Ambrose University. The study should reveal if minorities are being treated unfairly during traffic stops.
Lieutenant Baxter says the department already does internal investigations on their stops but they hope an independent source will tell them if they are missing anything.
He said, “we want to be fair to everyone.”
The Dubuque City Council voted for the study six to one. Luis Del Toro was the only member to vote against the study. He says he’s worried that doing to the study now will just create racial tension that isn’t there.
He said, “I just don’t feel that we’ve had that kind of situation in our community where that would warrant that.”
NAACP Dubuque Chapter President Anthony Allen thinks the study will reveal any problems that the department might be missing.
“As I talk to local residents, there’s always complaints in regards to police stopping and frisking, and/or stopping and finding information, so a traffic study would be great because it gives us an idea of whether or not officers are just targeting minorities or they’re just going about their routine, daily business,” he said.
Another criticism of the study is the price. $30,000 was originally budgeted for it, but the total ended up coming to $25,000. Del Toro and other citizens believe that amount is too much. In Baxter’s opinion, it’s the price you pay living in today’s policing world.
“$25,000 in comparison to a major lawsuit perhaps for racial profiling or you know other bias situations in probably a small price to pay,” he said.
Allison is a senior at Loras College and is a Dubuque native. She's the Producer of LCTV News, along with Payton Van Vors, as well as an anchor and reporter. This past summer, Allison had an internship with KCRG in Dubuque, and she's continuing to work for them this Fall. Allison reports because she loves keeping her community informed on issues and events that matter to them.