The Silsbee City Council met Monday, March 6, to receive the 2016 Racial Profiling Report on citywide motor vehicle stops by law enforcement.
City policy “strictly prohibits peace officers employed by the City of Silsbee from engaging in racial profiling” and information about the racial makeup of vehicle stops is made public.
Chief of Police Waylan Rhodes delivered the report identifying a total of 647 motor vehicle stops in Silsbee in 2016. The report states that the racial composition of these stops is 498 Caucasian, 125 African American, 21 Hispanic, 2 Middle Eastern, and 1 Asian.
“As far as population, we’ll ballpark it at 6,700 (people), which is a little over 65 percent white, little over 30 percent African American, and Hispanics are a little over 4 percent,” Rhodes said, who recently assumed the Silsbee Chief of Police position in January.
This report compares similarly with the 2015 report that found among a total of 679 stops: 527 Caucasian, 126 African American, 24 Hispanic and 2 Asian drivers were stopped by police. In both yearly reports, over 90 percent of officers say they could not distinguish the drivers’ ethnicity before the traffic stop.
Silsbee council members present for the report were Christopher Barnes, Thomas Tyler, Gary Strahan, and Mayor Pro Tem Jim Willis.