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Congressional hopeful Sen. David Schapira, D-Tempe, introduced Senate Bill 1071 for the second legislative session in a row, which bans Arizona law enforcement officers from racial profiling.

Schapira’s introduced the bill last year in response to Senate Bill 1070, which granted officers the right to pull over any person suspected of being an illegal immigrant. The bill was signed into law last summer and has since gained national attention.

“What the legislation would do is it would ensure those civil liberties,” Schapira said. “It would codify that you would not be able to essentially be stopped by a police officer simply because of the color of your skin.”

If passed, the bill would not focus on enforcement as much as education, Schapira said. The training programs would show police officers how to recognize racial profiling and how it can affect the community.

Lorie Fridell, the former director of research at the Police Executive Research Forum and racial profiling expert, said enforcing this type of ban is difficult because it is hard to prove.

“The same behavior that we observe may or may not be racial profiling, depending on what’s going on inside the officer’s head,” Fridell said.

While this bill seeks to send a positive message, it is not the solution, she said.

According to SB1071, training should help police officers understand and respect the race, religion and cultural differences of all people.

Fridell said officers subconsciously use racial profiling without ill intention.

“Humans have biases that impact on what they perceive and can impact on their behavior and often this occurs below consciousness,” she said.

Tempe Police spokeswoman Molly Enright declined to comment on the impending legislation, but did say the department does not engage in racial profiling.

Schapira said even though SB1070’s most controversial provisions did not take effect in Arizona due to federal challenge, the state still has a problem with racial profiling.

“There is a concern out there that racial profiling is occurring already, regardless of SB1070,” Schapira said. “I think this will help alleviate some of those concerns among the people of Arizona.”

After being heard by numerous committees, Schapira said he hopes 2012 will be the year SB1071 will make it to the governor’s office.

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