City tries to get state to pay costs of filling out racial profiling
February 25, 2001, Sunday, Five Star Lift Edition
(LAKE OZARK, Mo.) -- The city administrator has billed Missouri Attorney General Jay Nixon for the cost of complying with a new racial profiling law.
The law requires every law enforcement agency to submit a report to the state that shows the age, race and gender of every driver or pedestrian stopped by law officers.
The law is aimed at tracking whether police officers are deliberately targeting members of certain racial groups.
Lake Ozark City Administrator Herb Llewellyn contends that unless Nixon reimburses each agency for the costs of compliance, the law violates the Hancock Amendment to the Missouri Constitution. The amendment requires voter approval of tax and fee increases.
Besides, Llewellyn said, the law "generates a lot of paperwork, but wi ll do little to change the attitudes of cops that actually do stop people because of their race."
Llewellyn, with the support of Mayor Gary Weber, billed Nixon's office $200 for "one box of racial profile traffic forms" and $1,187 for 125 hours spent filling out those forms.
Llewellyn also sent letters to Nixon and area legislators explaining his actions.
Police departments must submit their data to the attorney general's office by March 1, and a final report is expected later this year.
Mary Still, spokeswoman for the attorney general, said Lake Ozark would not be reimbursed for the costs of complying with the law, but that Nixon appreciated the letter Llewellyn sent.
"Actually it was helpful to us in that we're trying to get a better understanding of the cost of implementing the program and I think it was absolutely appropriate for him to send carbon copies to his legislators since they're the ones that created the law in the first place," Still said.
Llewellyn sent letters to state Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-St. Elizabeth, and Sen. Larry Rohrbach, R-California.
"It is my understanding that on the (legislative bill), the cost of this legislation was listed as zero. Lake Ozark has incurred both direct and indirect costs," Llewellyn wrote.
Luetkemeyer wrote to Llewellyn that it was "unfortunate that some of the cost of the program has to be born by the local entities."
Luetkemeyer said the program was costing the state about $200,000 a year.
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