A law enforcement strategy in which police avoid accusations of racial profiling by ignoring traffic violations and other petty crimes committed by members of visible minorities. Also: depolicing.
But as new leaders were promising action, rank-and-file officers were reacting bitterly, saying if they were faulted for doing their job, they'd stop all proactive policing. It's a practice known as "de-policing."
During a February, 2001 riot in Seattle, when police were accused of taking a hands-off approach, one officer was quoted as saying: "Parking under a shady tree to work on a crossword puzzle is a great alternative to being labelled a racist and being dragged through an inquest, a review board, an FBI and U.S. attorney investigation and lawsuit."
Michelle Shephard, "Seattle offers insights into police profiling," Toronto Star, February 9, 2003
Three out of four police departments in Massachusetts have engaged in racial profiling against nonwhite drivers, state Public Safety Secretary Edward A. Flynn is expected to report today. ...
The attorney for the state's police chiefs association predicted that many police officers will respond to Flynn's ruling by "de-policing," doing fewer traffic stops lest they give more ammunition to their critics.
Bill Dedman, "Racial profiling is confirmed," The Boston Globe, May 4, 2004
Bratton himself talks about "kids playing in streets that had become fearful places". ... His central point, though, is that "if you excuse people of responsibility they become irresponsible". ...
Seamlessly, Bratton picked up his train of thought about the de-policing of the streets, and how it "decriminalised a lot of formerly criminal behaviour".
Tracy Corrigan, "The Boston cop who cleaned up New York's streets," Financial Times (London, England), September 27, 1997
De-policing is also sometimes called selective disengagement (2001) or tactical detachment (2001). A broader term is selective enforcement (1971), which means ignoring misdemeanors to concentrate on major crimes. Thanks to Dave Doepner for providing valuable feedback on today's word.