3/22/05 Copntact: David Granger, 334/844-9999 (grangdm@auburn.edu)
Jim Seroka, 334/844-4781 (jseroka@auburn.edu)

NEW POLL: MOST ALABAMIANS SAY RACIAL PROFILING IS A PROBLEM IN LAW ENFORCEMENT

AUBURN – Fifty-four percent of Alabamians surveyed believe that racial profiling by local law enforcement officers occurs at least occasionally and 60 percent disapprove of the practice.

These are among the findings of a recent Ask Alabama public opinion survey, conducted by the Center for Governmental Services at Auburn University. Ask Alabama releases periodic results of quarterly polls on topics of interest to Alabamians.

According to Ask Alabama’s January telephone survey of 629 Alabama residents, 33 percent of minorities believe that racial profiling is widespread, compared to only 14 percent of non-minorities. Minorities are more than five times as likely as non-minorities to report personal or family experiences of being stopped by a police officer because of their racial or ethnic background.

Poll director Jim Seroka says the issue is understandably a concern to minority citizens.

“Many more in Alabama’s minority communities believe that racial or ethnic profiling is a much more prevalent practice than is the case among non-minorities,” Seroka said. “By definition, profiling is a personal experience for many in the minority community.”

Of the 60 percent who said they disapproved of the practice, both minorities and non-minorities deplored racial profiling in high numbers.

“Relatively few Alabamians condone racial or ethnic profiling,” said Seroka. “There appears to be strong grassroots support for our state and local leaders to act firmly and decisively against this practice in the State as well as in our local communities.”

Complete results of the Ask Alabama poll on Racial Profiling in Law Enforcement can be found at www.askalabama.org. The poll had an estimated margin of error of plus or minus four percent.

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