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Collection Of Racial Profiling Data By The Houston Police Department

1089 words - 5 pages

Back in the days before man moved from living in caves to living in huts, Stan the cave man would come home from a long day of hunting and record his accomplishments on the cave wall. Sometimes his pictures would show a mighty hunt where a large animal was taken down, and other times the pictures would show a fellow cave man or two dying in a hunt that turned tragic. Stan would share his pictures, whether good or bad, with everyone who lived in the cave to show them what happened during his hunt.

When broken all the way down to simplest form, what Stan the cave man was really doing was collecting data. He recorded the events of his day on the cave wall as a way to communicate ...view middle of the document...

The Houston Police Department followed the order, and shortly afterwards they began collecting data on every officer initiated traffic stop.

At first, the Houston Police Department created a paper form for every police officer to fill out after each traffic stop he or she conducted. These forms filled out by the officers were then collected at the end of each shift by the officers' supervisor. The supervisors were responsible for turning the forms into the police station's secretary. The secretary was held responsible for entering the information into the departmental mainframe for centralized collection.

In the internet article Organizational Data, several categories of organizational data are listed. These categories include organizational structure data, customer relationship data, financial data, external relationship data, and industry specific data.

What the City of Houston was creating through this process was an organizational structure to collect all the racial profiling data produced by the officers of the Houston Police Department. The goal of the initial structure was to ensure the accuracy of the data collected, and to provide a means of the dissemination of information.

Through the forms, or the questionnaires the officers filled out, the City of Houston attempted to meet the demands of the situation placed upon it by the United States Congress. Among those demands was the proper storage of the racial profiling data collected by the city from the traffic stops. The city used a primary and secondary storage process. The primary form of storage was the hard copy created by the officers. These forms were collected and stored at a centralized location as required by the mandate. Even today, several years later a person can go to 1200 Travis, Houston Police Department headquarters and view the early racial profiling data collected. The secondary form of storage is the computers memory. Once the officers download the racial profiling data on the computer, retrieving the information was easy as a few clicks on the computer keyboard.

The primary form of storage creates many benefits. One of the benefits of primary storage is the paper used can always be duplicated to which significantly decreases the probability of racial profiling data being lost. However, a...

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