Police officers of New York received a lesson in demography today when their chief issued a memo clarifying the difference between Native Americans and Asian Indians. The New York Police Department Commissioner Ray Kelly issued the memo to prevent "incorrect racial identification" in the future.
Kelly told NYPD officers that "incorrect racial identification impacts the department's data collection.” A person's race is noted in police reports when a crime suspects are described by a victim. It is also noted on UF-250s - the stop, question and frisk reports.
There has been an apparent mix-up between Asian Indians and American Indians in a modest number of reports. The mistake was discovered by the quality assurance division. "Like any large organisation we regularly post internal memos reminding employees of the importance of uniformity when preparing official documents," said NYPD spokesman Deputy Commissioner John McCarthy.
Incorrect data could hide emerging crime patterns or provide police with a misleading description of a suspect, sources said.
The new memo asked suspects to be identified as white, black, American Indian, Asian or Pacific Islander and Hispanic white or Hispanic black.