Racial Profiling

OCTOBER 30, 2006 -- POSTED AT 10:00 P.M CST

JONESBORO, AR -- Each year, the number of Hispanics in Arkansas and Region 8 continues to grow. A recent report from the Arkansas Task Force on racial profiling says law enforcement should take steps to ensure Hispanics are treated fairly when encountering police, assuring equal treatment for all regardless of their ethnic background

"We try to reinforce the equal treatment under the law. The constitution demands of equal treatment under the law," says Lt. Mark Mosier of the Jonesboro Police Department.

The entire department takes part in training courses learning how to treat all races equal. Lt. Mosier says police racial profiling can easily damage any department.

"We rely on public trust and once there's a loss of public trust, then it makes it very difficult to do our jobs," says Lt. Mosier.

The Region 8 Hispanic community told us they work well with local law enforcement and don't see racial profiling as a problem here.

"For the most part, I think this is a good area for the Hispanics and it doesn't happen a lot here," says Gina Gomez, a Jonesboro Hispanic Resident.

Gomez has lived in U.S. and this area for nearly 8 years now and as times changes, she feels Hispanics are becoming more welcome in communities.

"It's important to understand that this is a reality. Many people don't like or agree with that, but this is a reality and we have to look for the best way to work with this reality," says Gomez.

And the reality is that more Hispanics are moving to Arkansas.

"As the community changes, the police department needs to change with it," says Lt. Mosier.

Racial profiling was addressed by the state of Arkansas in 2003 when legislators passed an act requiring all law enforcement agencies to adopt a written policy against racial profiling and to formally review any complaints made within their department.