THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
June 9, 1999
MEMORANDUM FOR THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY
THE ATTORNEY GENERAL THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR
SUBJECT: Fairness in Law Enforcement: Collection of Data
We must work together to build the trust of all Americans in law enforcement. We have great confidence in our Federal law enforcement officers and know that they strive to uphold the best principles of law enforcement in our democratic society. We cannot tolerate, however, officers who cross the line and abuse their position by mistreating law-abiding individuals or who bring their own racial bias to the job. No person should be subject to excessive force, and no person should be targeted by law enforcement because of the color of his or her skin.
Stopping or searching individuals on the basis of race is not effective law enforcement policy, and is not consistent with our democratic ideals, especially our commitment to equal protection under the law for all persons. It is neither legitimate nor defensible as a strategy for public protection. It is simply wrong.
To begin addressing the problem of racial profiling, Federal agencies should collect more data at all levels of law enforcement to better define the scope of the problem. The systematic collection of statistics and information regarding Federal law enforcement activities can increase the fairness of our law enforcement practices. Tracking the race, ethnicity, and gender of those who are stopped or searched by law enforcement will help to determine where problems exist, and guide the development of solutions.
I therefore direct you to design and implement a system to collect and report statistics relating to race, ethnicity, and gender for law enforcement activities in your department. Specifically, you shall:
(1) develop a proposal within 120 days, in consultation with the Attorney General, for a system of data collection and an implementation plan for a field test of that system, including the law enforcement agency components, sites, data sets, training, and other methods and procedures to be included in the field testing. You shall implement field tests within 60 days of finalizing their proposals; (2) to the extent practicable, collect data that is sufficiently detailed to permit an analysis of actions relevant to the activities of the included law enforcement agencies by race, ethnicity, or gender. Such actions may include traffic stops, pedestrian stops, a more extensive inspection or interview than that customarily conducted with entrants to the United States, requests for consent to search, or warrantless searches. Data acquired pursuant to this memorandum may not contain any information that may reveal the identity of any individual; and (3) provide to the Attorney General a summary of the information collected during the first year of your field test, including civilian complaints received alleging bias based on the race, ethnicity, or gender of the complainant in law enforcement activities; your process for investigating and resolving such complaints; and the outcomes of any such investigations. The Attorney General shall report to me, in consultation with relevant agency heads, on the results of the field tests with: (i) an evaluation of the first year of the field test; (ii) an implementation plan to expand the data collection and reporting system to other components and locations within the agency and to make such system permanent; and (iii) recommendations to improve the fair administration of law enforcement activities.
In addition, within 120 days of the date of this directive, you shall provide a report to me on your training programs, policies, and practices regarding the use of race, ethnicity, and gender in your law enforcement activities, along with recommendations for improving those programs, policies, and practices.
WILLIAM J. CLINTON
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