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Guidance for Federal Law Enforcement Agencies Regarding the Use of Race, Ethnicity, Gender, National Origin, Religion, Sexual Orientation, or Gender Identity

Biased practices, as the Federal government has long recognized, are unfair, promote mistrust of law enforcement, and perpetuate negative and harmful stereotypes. Moreover-and vitally important-biased practices are ineffective ... Law enforcement practices free from inappropriate considerations, by contrast, strengthen trust in law enforcement agencies and foster collaborative efforts between law enforcement and communities to fight crime and keep the Nation safe. In other words, fair law enforcement practices are smart and effective law enforcement practices. Even-handed law enforcement is therefore central to the integrity, legitimacy, and efficacy of all Federal law enforcement activities. The highest standards can-and should-be met across all such activities. Doing so will not hinder-and, indeed, will bolster-the performance of Federal law enforcement agencies’ core responsibilities. This new Guidance applies to Federal law enforcement officers performing Federal law enforcement activities, including those related to national security and intelligence, and defines not only the circumstances in which Federal law enforcement officers may take into account a person’s race and ethnicity ... but also when gender, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, or gender identity may be taken into account. This new Guidance also applies to state and local law enforcement officers while participating in Federal law enforcement task forces" (p. 1). Guidance is provided for: routine or spontaneous activities in domestic law enforcement; all activities other than routine or spontaneous law enforcement activities-never rely on generalized stereotypes, only on specific characteristic-based information, information must be relevant to the locality or time frame, information must be trustworthy, characteristic-based information must always be specific to particular suspects or incidents, reasonably merited under the totality of the circumstances, actions related to national security, homeland security, and all other intelligence activities, training, data collection, and accountability.