Bias In Traffic Stops?

Driving while Black (DWB) has been a phenomenon which unfortunately goes back decades. The idea of stopping and terrorizing African Americans for some lame reason or more specifically no reason at all is as old as our presence in this country. Fortunately and thankfully much work has been done to ensure that all Americans who travel on the nations highway and roads are stopped and treated equally while being detained. Recently Stanford University released a detailed analysis of police motor vehicle stops throughout the country. The team of researched analyzed 100 million stops from all across the country. This data is imperfect in detecting the precise motivation for a stop, as acknowledged by the authors. However, the data points to a some very interesting conclusions.

Researchers believe that there are clear racial disparities in the rates that police officers stop, ticket and ultimately search African American drivers in comparison with white drivers. The authors do an excellent job in trying to breakdown the complex math used in calculating their findings. In similar fashion Central Connecticut State University did a similar study and analysis for the State of Connecticut. The results were controversial, and I should know since I was there for some of their presentations to municipal police chiefs.

I encourage all to go through the data for both studies and try to understand what some have been saying for a long time, that there is clear bias in the way people of certain ethnic backgrounds are treated.  Be sure and look at all relevant factors when considering the merits of a case and how measurements are considered. Open and honest dialogue could bring our society a long way toward solving this problem. It may even bring this type of conversation to an end forever, and that is a goal worth achieving.

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