Bias-Based Profiling

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The Melbourne Police Department is committed to unbiased policing in all of its encounters with the public. The Police Department patrols in a proactive manner to investigate suspicious persons and circumstances and to actively enforce motor vehicle laws, regardless of a suspect’s race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, economic status, background, age or culture.

Criminal Profiling vs. Bias-based Profiling

Officers investigating criminal activities use a variety of techniques in developing the proof needed to arrest and prosecute criminals. The absence of articulable facts, suspicious activity, or specific criminal information is what separates bias-based profiling from legitimate criminal profiling.

  • Criminal profiling is a legitimate technique used by officers to evaluate evidence and identify the characteristics common to a specific kind of criminal activity. Factual information, patterns of activity, and motives are some of the aspects considered when using criminal profiling.
  • Bias-based profiling occurs when an officer, whether intentionally or unintentionally, makes decisions or takes police action due to personal, societal or organizational biases or stereotypes based upon a person’s race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, economic status, background, age, or culture, physical handicap, religion or other belief system, or any physical or personal characteristic.

Bias-based Profiling is Prohibited

The Melbourne Police Department strictly prohibits bias-based profiling by officers. Melbourne Police Officers receive training to identify and avoid bias-based profiling, including the potential liability associated with violations of the law.

Being Stopped by the Police

Each situation is unique, and the officer must alter his or her response to fit each circumstance. Generally, however, an officer:

• Will provide his/her name upon request.
• Will provide the name and phone number of the officer’s supervisor.
• Will inform a person of the reason for being stopped.


If you have any questions, would like more information regarding the Melbourne Police Department’s policies and procedures prohibiting bias-based profiling, or if you have a complaint, please call (321) 608-6731.