It is the policy of the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office to prohibit bias-based profiling in all police-initiated actions. These include all investigative detentions, field contacts, traffic contacts, arrests and incarceration, searches, asset seizures, and forfeiture efforts. Aside from routine citizen contacts, a deputy’s investigative actions will be based on a standard of reasonable suspicion or probable cause as required by the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and statutory authority.
Deputies must be able to articulate specific facts, circumstances and conclusions, which support reasonable suspicion for an investigative detention or traffic stop, or probable cause for arrest. Deputies shall not consider race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, age, gender identity, or sexual orientation in establishing either reasonable suspicion, probable cause, or as a basis for requesting consent to search.
Criminal profiling is a legitimate tool in the fight against crime. It is an investigative method in which a deputy, through observation of activities and environment, identifies suspicious behavior by individuals and develops a legal basis, consistent with the Fourth Amendment, to detain and question.
However, illegal profiling refers to a decision by a deputy to stop, detain, interdict, or search an individual based on the race, color, gender, ethnicity, religion, age, sexual orientation, or national origin. The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office prohibits illegal profiling as a law enforcement tactic and will not tolerate or condone its use by any member.