Based upon the readings, what police officers need to conduct investigations so that they would not be considered racial profiling are specific descriptions of suspects including physical attributes, such as race. If law enforcement receives information from a witness or victim that identifies a suspect’s race, that would give them probable cause to only look at people of that race, which is not profiling. Additionally, there are circumstances where if there is credible information pertaining to a locale or period of time which connects a person of a certain race to a criminal incident, officers are allowed to use race to investigate (Department of Justice, 2003).
Lawfulness is when law enforcement complies with constitutional and statutory laws and norms while legitimacy is the public’s belief about the police and their willingness to acknowledge the police’s authority. Police behavior can be lawful, meaning they follow the law and policies as provided in the constitution, but at the same time they can be seen as not being legitimate because the public may feel that their policies or actions are unfair or discriminatory. If they view the police in that light, it will lower the community’s trust in them and therefore be perceived as being illegitimate and as not having authority, even if their actions were lawful.
I don’t think it is constitutional to regulate or utilize racial profiling in law enforcement agencies. Racial profiling violates a person’s fourth and fourteenth amendment rights. The fourth amendment protects citizens from unreasonable search and seizures, which if someone’s race is the sole reason a person gets targeted for a stop and search, traffic stop, or something of that nature, that would be violating their protection under the law. Furthermore, the fourteenth amendment guarantees equal protection of the law, and if an officer stops a person because of their race, that is a violation of the equal protection clause. Likewise, selective enforcement of the law towards people of one race and not people of a different race is prohibited as well for violating the fourteenth amendment (Racial Profiling: Legal and Constitutional Issues, 2012).
Department of Justice. (2003, June 17). Justice Department Issues Policy Guidance to Ban Racial Profiling. Justice.Gov. Retrieved June 16, 2022, from
Racial Profiling: Legal and Constitutional Issues. (2012, April 16). CRS Reports. Retrieved June 16, 2022, from
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