Local Chief of Police profiles racial profiling at NKU forum

On Thursday, Oct. 10, Anthany Beatty Sr., the first African-American Chief of Police of Lexington, Ky.. visited Northern Kentucky University.

Chief Beatty was the guest speaker for a racial profiling forum that was hosted by the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated, Rho Gamma chapter. Sixty-five students gathered in Norse Commons to hear Beatty speak.

The program was divided in two halves.

The first half was an M. S. Power-Point presentation that consisted of information about the Lexington Police Force and statistics about racial profiling in Lexington. The second half was an open forum in which students could ask questions.

Beatty began by shocking the audience and informing them of situations in Lexington that may be related to the current Anthrax scares.

“Today alone, the Lexington Police received ten questionable packages with chemicals in them,” Beatty said. As a result, those envelopes are under investigation.

He then went on to discuss racial profiling, explaining he has two perspectives on the topic. The first perspective is because he is an African-American and was raised in the urban housing projects of Lexington. The second perspective is because he is a law enforcer.

Beatty offered basic policing definitions and the explanation of other concepts that are relative to racial profiling. Racial profiling is when an officer stops someone solely based on race, gender, religion, etc. Beatty also used a number of pie charts, which were categorized by race and gender and statistically graphed Lexington citizens and their violations. The charts proved that there were significantly more violations given to the African-Americans in the community compared to Caucasians.

“Lexington was the first city in Kentucky to really deal with racial profiling head-on,” stated Beatty.

He explained that the initial impact of racial profiling occurred in the mid 90’s when crack cocaine was introduced into the city. As a result, the Lexington Police Force implemented horses, dogs, and bikes to cut down crime.

“Special Task Forces taught officers how to profile,” said Betty. The goal was to look for characteristics that would result in the proper apprehension of criminals.

He said that in 1998, the citizens of Lexington began to complain and voice their problems about unfair policing. “Police listened and changed our actions,” he said. Consequently, the Lexington Police Force developed and implemented a policy before it became a requirement.

Beatty was asked how many officers from the Lexington Police Force have been fired due to an excessive number of violations of the racial profiling policy.

“Zero. We’ve never lost an officer,” he responded. “Some have resigned because the policy is too strict, they go somewhere else.”

Beatty also discussed many tangents that are relevant to racial profiling. He explained that the purpose of the Bureau of Internal Affairs is to investigate complaints about police officers.

If there are major problems, the Federal Justice Department can take over a police agency, leaving it with no authority or jurisdiction. Beatty noted that police forces from cities such as Columbus, Ohio and Pittsburgh have lost their jurisdiction.

He said when the heat is on the police because of angry citizens or an officer has too many complaints, it is natural for an officer to pull out of a situation to avoid a racial profiling accusation or to minimize the opportunity not to get in trouble.

“They want the community off their backs,” said Beatty. “You can’t get in trouble if you don’t do anything.”

Beatty explained there are certain guidelines required by the Federal Justice Department.

One of these guidelines is to have regular cultural diversity and ethics training. As a result of an influx of Latinos and Mexican-Americans into Lexington, the Lexington Police Force sends officers to Mexico to be immersed in the culture.

When the floor opened for questions, an NKU student asked, “What would you recommend for citizens to do because they were disrespected by an officer because of race?”

Beatty explained that the best recourse is to file an informal inquiry. This will result in an examination of the situation and the officer

NKU student AnCarlos Barbour described a situation in which he was pulled over for not using his turn signal.

“The officer refused to give me his badge number,” said Barbour.

Beatty explained that it is illegal for an officer to refuse to give a citizen their badge number. He then offered a few alternative solutions to this problem.

“We (Lexington Police) make a strong effort to ensure our officers are the most professional and provide the best contemporary policing,” Beatty emphasized in a post-forum interview.

Quincy Martin, Assistant Director of Student Life said, “The racial profiling program was well received. The Lexington Chief of Police was very knowledgeable on this subject matter and gave great examples. I feel that I have learned a great deal from this presentation and encourage others to take advantage of this educational opportunity.”

Beatty joined the Lexington Division of Police in 1973. He explained that the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Division is a product from a merger in 1973 that combined the two forces.

He currently commands the Bureau of Patrol. Chief Beatty earned a bachelor’s degree in Police Administration from Eastern Kentucky University and a master’s degree in Public Administration from Kentucky State University.