DUBUQUE, Iowa (KCRG) — A national survey from the American Civil Liberties Union claims that, in Dubuque County in 2018, African-Americans were 13 times more likely to get arrested for marijuana possession.
The front entrance to the Dubuque Law Enforcement Center, home to the Dubuque County Sheriff’s Office, on Tuesday, April 21, 2020. (Maggie Wedlake/KCRG)
The ACLU also said that Iowa had the fifth-highest racial disparity on marijuana arrests for 2018.
Dubuque County Sheriff Joe Kennedy says, whenever inconsistencies come up, they need to be looked at. The sheriff notes the ACLU was looking at arrests as a whole and not including factors like “time of day” for arrests and whether or not racial profiling was even possible.
“We were averaging about 6% of our traffic stops were on African-Americans. And with African-Americans presenting about 4% of the population of Dubuque, we feel this is about pretty close to where it should be,” Kennedy said. “And, to me, that is a more accurate representation of the work that our deputies are doing.”
The Sheriff also said most drug arrests do come from traffic stops, and that all deputies are required to complete a racial profiling form after each stop.