Policy on Fair and Impartial Policing American University Police

A.  Purpose

The purpose of this directive is expressly to state that members of the American University Police Department (AUPD) will treat all persons having contact with AUPD in a fair, equitable and objective manner, in accordance with the law and without consideration of their race, color, religion, national origin, immigration status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability, age or any other bases under applicable federal and local laws (“Protected Bases”). 

B.  Policy

1.  AUPD officers will provide law enforcement services in a proactive and fair manner, investigate suspicious persons and circumstances, and actively enforce the District of Columbia laws and campus policies.  AUPD officers will not engage in profiling of any kind and will briefly stop or detain persons only based upon reasonable suspicion to believe they have committed, are committing, or are about to commit an infraction of the law or violation of University policy.

2.  Except as provided below, AUPD officers shall not consider any Protected Bases in establishing reasonable suspicion.

a.  AUPD officers may take into account the reported Protected Bases of a specific suspect or suspects only based on directly relevant information that links a certain individual with specific characteristics or traits to a particular criminal incident or links a specific series of crimes in an area to a group of individuals.

b.  Except as provided above, no person shall be singled out or otherwise treated differently because of his/her Protected Bases.

3.  Any person may file a complaint with the American University Office Human Resources department if they feel a member of AUPD has violated this policy.

C.  Definitions

1.  Biased-based Policing: the selection of individuals based solely on a common trait of a group. This includes but is not limited to race, ethnic background, gender, sexual orientation, religion, economic status, age, cultural group or any other identifiable groups.

2.  Profiling: the interdiction, detention, arrest or other non-consensual treatment of an individual because of a characteristic or status.

3.  Racial Profiling: the detention, interdiction, or other disparate treatment of any person on the basis of their racial or ethnic status or characteristics.

4.  Reasonable Suspicion: also known as articulable suspicion is a suspicion that is more than a mere hunch, but is based on a set of facts and circumstances (that are capable of being articulated), that would warrant a person of reasonable caution in believing that an infraction of the law (or violation of University policy), has been committed, is about to be committed, or is in the process of being committed, by the person or persons under suspicion. This can be based other observations of a police officer combined with his or her training and experience, and/or reliable information received from credible outside sources.

D.  Training

1.  Annually, AUPD officers will receive training on combatting implicit bias in policing, -which shall include the strategies to prevent profiling in field and traffic contacts, appropriate searches and interview techniques, intercultural competence, non-discrimination, and community support.

2.  Training will be evidence-based and will emphasize the harm associated with biased-based policing and discrimination. The training will also include a review of this policy.

Content reviewed and current as of Novmber 5, 2020