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Crockett Police Submit Racial Profiling Report

Seek New Gear For Officers

By Greg Ritchie

Messenger Reporter

CROCKETT – Crockett Police Department (CPD) Chief Clayton Smith submitted his department’s report on racial profiling at a Feb. 20 city council meeting, a state requirement for all law enforcement agencies. Smith also sought approval for several grants to provide updated equipment for his officers. 

Smith reported on the department’s activity for January, reporting CPD manpower of 16 officers, working a total of 2,754 hours. CPD responded to a total of 497 calls during the month, including 10 accidents, 36 arrests and 311 traffic reports. 

Smith said a lot of the theft reports come from one place in the city. 

“Thefts have been consistent, unfortunately, most come from Walmart® – shoplifting cases keep us pretty busy there,” Smith said. “Sometimes, when we go out there, they have three or four more waiting for us they discovered.”

Crockett City Administrator John Angerstein said he learned from discussions with the store manager, the location suffers losses of $4,000, per day in shoplifting, with Smith commenting some of the cases are discovered only at night when doing inventory, after which the cameras are checked and suspects located. 

The 2023 CPD racial profiling report was presented which shows interactions between the department for the year, broken down by race and gender. The report gives not only the actual interactions, but whether or not CPD officer were aware of the citizen’s race, before the interaction. 

Smith said the number of officers recognizing they knew a person’s race before a stop has increased, which he said was a positive step. 

“We had to educate our officers it was alright to answer ‘yes’ to that question because there are instances where you deal with somebody on a traffic stop or a stop when you are going to know the race before you actually pull them over,” Smith explained. “When we made that adjustment, those numbers started coming up, which was what we want to see.”

CPD Chief Clayton Smith speaks about grants to acquire new gear at the recent city council meeting.

Of the over 3,000 interactions, 57% were white, 25% black and 15% were Hispanic. Of the total interactions, 63% were men and 37% women. Many of the stops were for moving or traffic violations, including 62 cases of narcotics being found, seven cases of weapons found and another 17 cases involving alcohol. 

CPD reported the officer knew the race of the person in 19% of the 2023 incidents. 

There were for requests for approval from city council for CPD to apply for grants which Smith explained in detail, saying the new equipment would serve to protect officers. 

The first grant request to the State of Texas Criminal Justice Division was for ballistic equipment, which would normally cost $16,000.  

“These are rifle-rated shields we can have at our disposal in the event of an active shooter or shooting scenario where the officer can grab those shields and can progress further into the situation and have that realistic protection, other than our soft body armor,” Smith said. 

Smith then explained the need for rifle-resistant body armor for CPD officers, which if purchased directly, would cost $28,000. 

“This is rifle-resistant armor which the officer will carry in their car in addition to having a shield available, they would have the rifle-range vest, which would protect them from rifle calibers,” Smith explained. 

A license-plate reader was also on the agenda, which would normally cost the city over $45,000. 

“We’re trying to obtain smaller cameras we can place around town,” Smith said. “ What we’ve seen with different burglaries, different cases we’ve had, we’ve tracked people around the loop or to other places in town. This tool would be kind of an eye-in-the-sky to help capture those license plates and eventually identifying someone.”

CPD also requested approval to submit a grant for new body cameras, with Smith explaining the newer system should be easier to use and more economical, although there would be a certain cost to the city, spread out over a number of years. 

“Our current body cams are starting to get towards the end of their life, and to replace that specific camera would cost us about $80,000. They are good products, but they’re expensive hard for smaller agencies to deploy those cameras,” Smith noted. “We looked at a different company that’s much more cost effective. They sent us four of their body cameras to try out and they’ve worked very well.”

Smith further explained the extremely expensive equipment would be covered fully by the grants, if approved by the state, with no cost to the city.  

All of the grant applications were approved by council, unanimously.  

“The ballistic vests and shields are central equipment,” Councilman Ernest Jackson told Smith. “I hear the news all the time, where police go to the scene of a domestic disturbance, and a suspect is shooting at the vehicle upon arrival on the property. Thank you for applying for these grants and we get this critically-needed equipment.”

In other business, the council approved closing Camp Street between East Houston Ave. and East Fannin Ave. Friday, Mar. 8 from 5 p.m.-12 a.m. and Saturday, Mar. 9 from 6 a.m.-12 a.m. for the Camp Street Blues Jam. 

Greg Ritchie can be reached at [email protected]

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