A San Jose State University professor joins a broader effort to support research into and combat racial profiles in California.
Earlier this month, Senator Toni Atkins of San Diego appointed William Armaline as Professor of Sociology and Creation School director Human Rights Institute, to California’s Racial and Identity Profiles Advisory Board. Armaline is known for his work on police reform, incarceration, inequality and anti-racist actions, among his many other human rights interests.
“Racial and identity profiles and discrimination have no place on our streets or in our social justice system,” Atkins said in a written statement. “I am confident that Dr. William Armaline will be a hugely productive addition to the vital work of the Racial and Identity Profiles Advisory Board in improving community-law enforcement relationships. “
The board was founded in 2015 by the Racial and Identity Profiles Act. The bill requires law enforcement agencies across the state to collect and report detailed data on complaints allegedly creating racist or identity profiles. When practiced by law enforcement, criminal profiling is “reliance on a set of characteristics that they believe may be related to crime”. according to the American Civil Liberties Union.
Armaline told San José Spotlight that his position on the board provides an important opportunity to learn and represent the university. The board’s primary role is to research and report profiling and recommend best practices to help law enforcement agencies eradicate harmful behavior and improve relationships with their communities.
“My approach right now is to start with a mindset to learn and see how the (board) works,” said Armaline. “And in view of the context of the current office of the AG and the modern political environment, sound out specific reform options.”
The board works under Attorney General Rob Bonta. Armaline said he was looking forward to this agreement based on Bonta’s previous work on criminal justice in the State Assembly. Bonta will also help a. to supervise brand new law, which he co-authored, which requires an investigation into all police shootings that kill unarmed civilians.
“Under the guidance of the current attorney general, I think bodies like the (Advisory Board) have an opportunity to do some really interesting work,” said Armaline.
In May, Bonta announced the Creation of a new office for racial justice in the country’s Ministry of Justice. Armaline sees this as another promising sign for the advisory board.
“The other thing is, frankly, we’ve worked hard at (Human Rights Institute) to become better ambassadors for SJSU,” said Armaline, “and the university’s dedicated role in serving not just our communities directly, but really having a voice in local and state politics. “
The university and institute, Armaline said, have a responsibility to serve the working people of California, and his appointment to the board helps achieve that goal.
Colleague Walt Jacobs, dean of SJSU’s College of Social Sciences, said this was Armaline’s specialty.
“The Human Rights Institute … is about addressing these really tough, chaotic social problems and working with community organizations and policy makers to use human rights research to make informed policy,” said Jacobs.
Armaline is not only a scholar, added Jacobs, he is also an integral part of his local community. Armaline is also a member of the NAACP from San Jose / Silicon Valley and the Santa Clara County Hate Crimes Task Force, among other advocacy groups.
“These community connections are important … So these voices are heard,” said Jacobs. “(Armaline) is a very passionate advocate, he won’t be your very reserved, quiet, typical researcher who lets research speak for itself. He’ll make sure you understand … and he’s a tireless lawyer too. He’s ready to roll up his sleeves and do the dirty work. “
Copies of all the advisory board’s detailed reports and details on the work of the group can be found here Here.