The below general order is in effect for all Weatherford College Police Department personnel, effective 09-02-22:

GO 315: Bias Based Policing/Racial Profiling

315.1 Purpose and Scope

We are committed to a respect for constitutional rights in the performance of our duties.  Our success is based on the respect we give to our communities, and the respect members of the community observe toward law enforcement.  To this end, we shall exercise our sworn duties, responsibilities, and obligations in a manner that does not discriminate on the basis of race, sex, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, ethnicity, age, or religion.  Respect for diversity and equitable enforcement of the law are essential to our mission.

All enforcement actions shall be based on the standards of reasonable suspicion or probable cause as required by the Fourth Amendment to the U. S. Constitution and by statutory authority.  In all enforcement decisions, officers shall be able to articulate specific facts, circumstances, and conclusions that support probable cause or reasonable suspicion for arrests, searches, seizures, and stops of individuals.  Officers shall not stop, detain, arrest, search, or attempt to search anyone based solely upon the person's race, ethnic background, gender, sexual orientation, religion, economic status, age, cultural group, or any other identifiable group.

All departmental orders are informed and guided by this directive.  Nothing in this order limits non-enforcement consensual contacts between officers and the public.

The purpose of this order is to inform officers that bias-based policing and/or racial profiling is prohibited by the department. Additionally, this order will assist officers in identifying key contexts in which bias may influence actions, and emphasize the importance of the constitutional guidelines within which we operate.

315.2 Definitions

Most of the following terms appear in this policy statement.  In any case, these terms appear in the larger public discourse about alleged biased enforcement behavior and in other orders.  These definitions are intended to facilitate on-going discussion and analysis of our enforcement practices.

Bias:  Prejudice or partiality based on preconceived ideas, a person's upbringing, culture, experience, or education.

Biased-based  policing:  Stopping, detaining, searching, or attempting to search, or using force against a person based upon his or her race, ethnic background, gender, sexual orientation, religion, economic status, age, cultural group, or any other identifiable group.

Ethnicity:   A cluster of characteristics that may include race but also cultural characteristics or traits that are shared by a group with a common experience or history. 

Gender:  Unlike sex, a psychological classification based on cultural characteristics or traits.

Probable Cause: Probable cause to arrest exists where facts and circumstances within officers' knowledge and of which they had reasonably trustworthy information are sufficient in themselves to warrant a person of reasonable caution in the belief that an offense has been or is being committed. It is not necessary that the officer possess knowledge of facts sufficient to establish guilt, but more than mere suspicion is required.

Race:  A category of people of a particular decent, including Caucasian, African, Hispanic, Asian, Middle Eastern, or Native American descent.  As distinct from ethnicity, race refers only to physical characteristics sufficiently distinctive to group people under a classification.

Racial profiling:  A law-enforcement initiated action based on an individual’s race, ethnicity, or national origin rather than on the individual’s behavior or on information identifying the individual as having engaged in criminal activity.

Reasonable suspicion:  The knowledge sufficient to induce an ordinary and prudent person to believe that criminal activity is at hand. The definition does not meet the standard of “probable cause.”     

Sex:  A biological classification, male or female, based on physical and genetic characteristics.

Stop: An investigative detention of a person for a brief period of time, based on reasonable suspicion.     

315.3 General Responsibilities

Officers are strictly prohibited from engaging in racial profiling or bias-based profiling. Specifically, officers are prohibited from stopping, detaining, searching, arresting, or taking any enforcement action including seizure or forfeiture activities, against any person based solely on the person’s race, ethnic background, gender, sexual orientation, religion, economic status, age, cultural group, or any other identifiable group.  These characteristics, however, may form part of reasonable suspicion or probable cause when officers are seeking a suspect with one or more of these attributes. 

Investigative detentions, traffic stops, arrests, searches, and property seizures by officers will be based on a standard of reasonable suspicion or probable cause in accordance with the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.  Officers must be able to articulate specific facts and circumstances that support reasonable suspicion or probable cause for investigative detentions, traffic stops, subject stops, arrests, nonconsensual searches, and property seizures.  Except as provided below, officers shall not consider race/ethnicity in establishing either reasonable suspicion or probably cause.  Similarly, except as provided below, officers shall not consider race/ethnicity in deciding to initiate even those nonconsensual encounters that do not amount to legal detentions or to request consent to search. 

Officers may take into account the reported race or ethnicity of a specific suspect or suspects based on trustworthy, locally relevant information that links a person or persons of a specific race/ethnicity to a particular unlawful incident(s).  Race/ethnicity can never be used as the sole basis for probable cause or reasonable suspicion.  Except as provided above, reasonable suspicion or probable cause shall form the basis for any enforcement actions or decisions. Individuals shall be subjected to stops, seizures, or detentions only upon reasonable suspicion that they have committed, are committing, or are about to commit an offense.  Officers shall document the elements of reasonable suspicion and probable cause in appropriate reports.

Officers shall have a firm understanding of the warrantless searches allowed by law, particularly the use of consent.  How the officer disengages from a stop may be crucial to a person's perception of fairness or discrimination.

Officers shall not use the refusal or lack of cooperation to justify a search of the person or vehicle or a prolonged detention once reasonable suspicion has been dispelled.

All personnel shall treat everyone with the same courtesy and respect that they would have others observe to department personnel.  To this end, personnel are reminded that the exercise of courtesy and respect engenders a future willingness to cooperate with law enforcement. 

All personnel shall courteously accept, document, and forward to the Chief of Police any complaints made by an individual against the department.  Officers shall provide information on the complaint process when requested.

When feasible, personnel should offer explanations of the reasons for enforcement actions or other decisions that bear on an individual’s well-being

315.4 Supervisory Responsibilities

Supervisors shall be held accountable for the observance of constitutional safeguards during the performance of their duties and those of their subordinates.  Supervisors shall identify and correct instances of bias in the work of their subordinates.

Supervisors shall use the disciplinary mechanisms of the department to ensure compliance with this order and the constitutional requirements of law enforcement.

Supervisors shall be mindful that in accounting for the actions and performance of subordinates, supervisors are critical to maintaining community trust in law enforcement.  Supervisors shall continually reinforce the ethic of impartial enforcement of the laws, and shall ensure that personnel, by their actions, maintain the community's trust in law enforcement.

Supervisors are reminded that biased enforcement of the law engenders not only mistrust of law enforcement, but increases safety risks to personnel as well as exposing the employee(s) and department to liability.

Supervisors shall be held accountable for repeated instances of biased enforcement of their subordinates if the supervisor knew, or should have known, of the subordinate’s actions.

Supervisors shall ensure that all enforcement actions are duly documented per departmental policy.  Supervisors shall ensure that all reports show adequate documentation of reasonable suspicion and probable cause, if applicable.  Any enforcement action that begins as a consensual encounter will also have the circumstances of the initial encounter documented.

Supervisors shall facilitate the filing of any complaints about law- enforcement service. 

315.5 Disciplinary Consequences

Appropriate corrective action shall be taken against officers employed by this agency who, after an investigation, are shown to have engaged in racial profiling and/or bias based policing, or who have otherwise violated this general order. Such disciplinary/corrective action may include dismissal.

315.6 Training

Officers shall complete all training required by state law regarding bias-based policing and racial profiling.

315.7 Complaints

The department shall publish “How to Make a Complaint” documents and make them available at all campuses regularly staffed by WCPD.  The information shall include, but is not limited to, the email, physical address, and telephone contact information for making a complaint or a compliment regarding an employee:

Physical Address: 225 College Park Drive, Weatherford, Texas, 76086
Telephone: 817-598-6316

Whenever necessary, the media will be used to inform the public of the department’s policy and complaint process. The department’s complaint process and its bias-based policing/racial profiling policy will be posted on the college’s website. 

Complaints alleging incidents of bias-based policing or racial profiling will be thoroughly investigated. Complainants will be notified of the results of the investigation when it is completed.

315.8 Statement on Data Collection and Motor Vehicle Stops

The Weatherford College Police Department does not regularly engage in motor vehicle stops as defined by Texas CCP article 2.132. WCPD has made exactly zero motor vehicle stops since the year 2012. Unless or until WCPD begins regularly making motor vehicle stops, WCPD will have no data to report per Texas CCP articles 2.132, 2.133, and 2.134.