Sunday, September 25, 2022

Oxford Police Say Racial Profiling Study Findings Not Accurate Here

Criminal justice and African American studies student Asia Womble said racial profiling during traffic stops is not an issue in Oxford due to the town’s demographics.

A Stanford University study looked at 100 million police stops and found black drivers are 20 percent more likely to get pulled over than white drivers in the United States.

The Oxford Police Department says that statistic does not apply here in Oxford. 

Data from local police shows that the racial breakdowns of traffic citations are in proportion with the city’s population. According to the Oxford-Lafayette County Economic Development Foundation, in 2018 18,916 people lived in the city of Oxford, and 47,351, in Lafayette County. Nearly 72 percent of Oxford’s population was white, and just under 24  percent, black.

Major Sheridan Maiden said all traffic stops are recorded with body cams and patrol car cams and reviewed daily. This is mandated in the officers’ protocol to ensure fair treatment of all citizens.

“What happens in Oxford is not always the way it happens in say, Memphis or Jackson,” Maiden said. “There’s communities and places that have good relations. We have very good relations with our public.”

Because Oxford is a college town, it attracts people from all different areas of the country. Maiden said the wide diversity of background means there are varying opinions of the police.

Jackson native Asia Womble is studying criminal justice and African American studies at Ole Miss. She attributes the positive relationship between OPD and local residents to the town’s racial makeup. 

“Specifically for Oxford, it probably wouldn’t be a problem because the demographic is half college students, and we go to a predominantly white school,” Womble said. “So, it’s kind of hard to pull over a lot of African American students.”

OPD regularly monitors its traffic stop data to ensure fairness in enforcement.

Maiden emphasized citizens should steer clear of generalizations about one another and about the police and says that, if at any time a citizen feels he or she has been treated unfairly, to come in and talk with the police department.

“We encourage our officers to be fair and impartial. We don’t discriminate with what we do, and if there’s a problem, we’re going to get to the bottom of it and resolve it,” Maiden said.


Story contributed by Briana Florez – bfflorez@go.olemiss.edu and Skye Spiehler – sespiehl@go.olemiss.edu.

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