Audits of Electronic Communication Devices for Bias

As part of the Department's ongoing efforts to ensure organizational integrity regarding the potential for bias in department-issued communication devices, the Internal Affairs Division (IAD) conducts quarterly audits of department-issued communication devices.

There are three platforms which are monitored for potential racial bias using a word list developed by the Department's Chief Information Officer: Level II (CLETS), E-mail, and text messages sent via Department-issued cellular phones.

It is important to note that due to system limitations, the audit process does not read the context of the words, as a result, false-positive hits may be generated. To validate the hit, the entire entry, e-mail message, or text that contains one of the words is thoroughly reviewed by IAD personnel to determine the context in which the term was used. Those hits determined to be potentially biased are investigated, and all others (false-positive hits) are archived.

Level II: California Law Enforcement Telecommunications System (CLETS)

A program was established which searches all entries made into this system using an established word list. The audit process is passive in nature and runs continuously. If a member uses one of the identified words, a "hit" is generated automatically and sent to IAD personnel via the Level II access portal. Each hit is printed, scanned, and saved to file. Staff analyzes every hit throughout the week, and those determined to be potentially biased are investigated.

Department E-Mail

All e-mails sent and received (internally and externally) through the Department’s server are audited using an established word list. The audit process is passive in nature. If an e-mail contains one of the identified words on the list, a hit is generated automatically and sent to IAD personnel via an e-mail address exclusively used for this audit process. Those e-mails are saved and maintained on the server. Staff analyzes every hit, and those determined to be potentially biased are investigated.

Text Messaging via Department-issued Cellular Phones

Audits of text messages sent and received (internally and externally) via each Department issued phone is conducted by IAD. Staff is trained to conduct active audits using a program developed by the cellular provider, AT&T, and the Information Technology Division. Every 30 days, a search is done of all texts using an established word list. Additional terms can be used as well. Search parameters allow staff to search Department systems for historical texts if necessary. For data not available on local systems, the cellular provider will be contacted to determine if additional information still exists on their servers. Staff analyzes every hit to determine the context in which the term was used. Those hits determined to be potentially biased are investigated. All false-positive hits are saved by AT&T.

Presentations made to the Police Commission on the department's quarterly audit results of potential bias in department-issued communication devices may be selected from below: