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Racial profiling complaints low for Kyle, Buda police departments

While racial profiling complaints in Buda and Kyle are rare, both police departments utilize certain processes to investigate the matters thoroughly.

According to the Kyle Police Department’s 2016 racial profiling report, KPD received only one complaint of racial profiling last year. The information was disseminated as part of the department’s annual report that details the number of traffic stops that were conducted and who the department stops.

After conducting a full internal affairs investigation, the department found the allegation was unfounded.

According to the police department’s informational brochure on complaint procedures, this means the incident did not occur or named employee was not involved.

Since 2011, the Kyle police department has only received one other complaint of racial profiling in 2013. However, the women who filed the complaint did not provide details and didn’t respond to follow-up contact.

Not even certain the complaint was about a Kyle police officer, the department determined the complaint was unfounded.

Barnett stated that in most cases officers notice the behavior of the vehicle committing a traffic infraction, not who the driver is.

In cases where officers do know the individual’s race before making a stop, Barnett said it’s typically because the officer is driving or stopped at an intersection next to the vehicle, where they can clearly see the driver.

The annual racial profiling report includes officially filed complaints, submitted in writing.

Officials provide information on how to file a complaint of an officer’s behavior on the city website and on pamphlets in the police department’s front window.

“In most all circumstances the person making the complaint, the person who feels like they’ve been victimized, must be willing to testify and be interviewed and be a witness and they’re required to submit a statement,” Barnett said.

However, Barnett said if he were to receive an anonymous letter which he believed had enough merit to the complaint, he could order an investigation.

As all traffic stops are recorded with audio and video, Barnett said it’s hard for an officer or a resident to dispute the facts during an investigation.

Additionally, officers are taught to respond to a resident wanting to file a complaint by providing them with information and not trying to discourage them from doing so.

The Buda Police Department has filed a racial profiling report every year since its establishment in 2010. Buda police did not receive any racial profiling complaints in 2015 and 2016.

“We do have mechanisms in place to safeguard against racial profiling,” said Buda Police Chief Bo Kidd. “We have not received any racial profiling complaints over the last two years, but if we did have a complaint then we certainly have the means to investigate that thoroughly.”

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