The city of Midlothian continues to have minimal juvenile curfew violations and is in compliance with racial profiling laws, Police Chief Carl Smith told the Midlothian City Council at last week’s regular meeting.
On racial profiling, Smith said the data from 2019 shows that there were no anomalies and that the city meets all state requirements based upon the law.
“Suffice to say that over the last 13 years we have consistently followed our base breakdown of ethnicity in the city,” Smith said. “It’s not planned or an effort based on the officers. It’s just what they’re stopping on the street.”
Last year, Midlothian police officers conducted 10,144 motor vehicle contacts that involved a violation of law. These stops resulted in 3,667 citations issued and 130 individual arrests.
Of the total number of citations issued to motorists, Smith said 2,327 were Caucasian, or about 63.4 percent; 744 were Mexican-American or Hispanic; 536 African-American or black, 48 Asian; and 12 of some type of Indian descent.
Smith also said Caucasians accounted for 64.2 percent of the total number of contacts in 2019, while Hispanics accounted for 17.7 percent, African-Americans 16.49 percent, Asians 1.2 percent, and Indian 0.37 percent. He added that over the last three years, the city has been consistent with contacts, with between 65 and 68 percent being Caucasian.
In search data, Smith reported that MPD officers made 366 searches in 2019 out of those 10,000-plus total stops. The majority of those times, the officers performed the search after receiving consent. Contraband was seized in 214 of those stops.
“We require all our officers to do a report every time we do a search in any type of traffic stop,” Smith said. “In other words, if they suspect there is contraband or illegal drugs or any type of stolen property, the officers will conduct a search.”
Of the 130 drivers arrested, 73 were Caucasian, 23 Hispanic, 27 African-American, and three Asian.
Overall, Smith said, the numbers are in line with the demographics of Midlothian and the police department received no racial profiling complaints in 2019.
Every year, the Midlothian Police Department undergoes a full audit of every traffic stop and contact made, and the data is analyzed by an authority that is well-versed in statistical review. Midlothian PD contracts with Dr. Alex del Carmen of Tarleton State University, whom Smith called one of the area’s leading authorities on racial profiling.
Smith also reported that the city handled only seven juvenile curfew violations in 2019, after only eight in 2018.
He told the council that the city’s curfew ordinance has a sundown clause that requires renewal every three years. The curfew has exceptions for school activities and businesses that employ teens.
“As you can see, it’s not a major problem with our community, but it’s hard to determine whether or not the fact that the ordinance exists is positive pressure in keeping the kids indoors when they should be indoors, or we just don’t have those issues,” Smith said. “Our parks close every night at 11 p.m., so if you’re in the park, we’re going to see you anyway and make a contact whether it’s curfew-related or just an ordinance violation for the parks.”