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"Substantial Race Disparities" in Springfield Traffic Stops, Blacks Searched at High Rates

Categories: Crime

The NAACP and police officials both note that the police department has contracted with a company to develop a three-hour block of training centered on diversity and bias-based policing issues. Over the last year, all SPD employees have done the training.

"The information officers provide related to each and every traffic stop is vital in our efforts to not only comply with the law but to remain within our own policy," Williams says in a statement. "I plan to continue this proactive approach of utilizing all the available traffic-stop data and researching it further to educate officers and the public as to what it might mean."

springfield-pd.jpg
via Facebook

The police department also points to the fact that its code of conduct strictly prohibits racial profiling.

Here's the full press release with commentary from the author, the chief and the NAACP, followed by the full report.

Traffic Stop Data Review

Springfield Police Chief Paul Williams has followed through on a promise to the community to release results from a third party researcher's look into 2011 police traffic stop data.

Missouri State University Professor of Sociology and Anthropology Dr. Mike Stout, presented his final report, "2011 Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Traffic Stops and Stop Outcomes: Springfield, Missouri" to representatives from the Springfield Chapter of the NAACP and the Springfield Police Department (SPD).

Stout analyzed 2011 traffic stop data, in conjunction with demographic data, including socio- economic and racial characteristics according to census tracts to provide the third-party unbiased report. He stated in the report, "The results suggest that there are substantial race disparities in traffic stops in Springfield. African Americans were disproportionately stopped according to all three indicators that were examined (percent of stops, stop rate, and stop disparity)."

The report also states that the results suggest various factors of the census tracts such as socioeconomic (measured as average property value in tracts) and racial characteristics (measured as percent of residents who are non-white), the number of officers dispatched and dispatch rates, along with the reason for the traffic stops (investigative purposes, equipment, license or moving violations) all contribute to the disparities in African American traffic stops and in African American stop rates.

"While some argue that racial disparities in traffic stops are symptoms of systemic bias, or racial profiling, on the part of the police, it is important to remember that motivations of individual police officers is incredibly difficult to prove using the type of data examined in this report," said Stout.

NAACP Springfield Chapter President Cheryl Clay said, "Chief Williams and SPD have demonstrated an ongoing good faith effort to address the NAACP and citizens' concerns regarding ethnic disparities in traffic stops. One must remember this report is from 2011 data. The numbers for Springfield did decrease in 2012. The NAACP Springfield chapter is committed to continuing this conversation and representing the ethnic minority community of Springfield."

Williams and Clay both noted that these efforts must focus on training, education, and awareness for police officers and citizens alike. As a result of these discussions, the SPD contracted with Pratt & Associates to develop a three-hour block of training centered on diversity and bias based policing issues. During the last year, all SPD employees completed the training.

"The training provided an opportunity to discuss historical issues that may impact some of the community's perceptions of the SPD, have deep discussions about subconscious biases that we all have to a certain degree and the community engagement efforts that the SPD has enhanced under the leadership of Chief Williams," said Francine Pratt, the primary instructor of the training. "The most compelling part of the intense training was the overall commitment that the SPD has in protecting the community, a willingness to share detailed data and to keep us safe."

The SPD has long prohibited the use of race as the sole factor in conducting traffic stops, a practice termed as racial profiling.

"Springfield police officers shall never choose to conduct a traffic stop or other enforcement contact based solely on the racial, gender, or socioeconomic characteristics of the driver or subject. Use of racial profiling or enforcement techniques is prohibited. Officers may use behavioral or vehicle descriptors as elements in a profile but the use of ethnicity, gender, or socioeconomic status of the occupant/subjects are forbidden and will not be tolerated."
- SPD Standard Operating Guideline (SOG) 103.1, Code of Conduct, Section 4.5.1

"The information officers provide related to each and every traffic stop is vital in our efforts to not only comply with the law but to remain within our own policy," Williams explained. "I plan to continue this proactive approach of utilizing all the available traffic stop data and researching it further to educate officers and the public as to what it might mean. I appreciate the work that Dr. Stout has done and plan to conduct similar reviews in the future."

The SPD is committed to working with the minority community, including the NAACP, to continue this dialogue in order to better understand why the disparities cited exist and to working together to develop strategies to address them.

The report:

SPD Traffic Stop Results

Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Sam Levin on Twitter at @SamTLevin.


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42 comments
AJ Wilkes
AJ Wilkes

The people in power target the minorities? Never! St. Louis is on top of the bell curve.

Holly Humfeld
Holly Humfeld

Welllll, I gotta say, when I have a "bad"driver in front of me and I go around, take a peek, and guess what?? A disproportionate amount of these folks are Hispanic, Middle-Eastern, etc.. Could it be these folks are just bad drivers and not being profiled?? Maybe it's a cultural thing??

David Enders
David Enders

Just like most of the post on here and just like STL,a bunch of racist Missouri white dick heads.

Derek Polston
Derek Polston

I would say its more real than most would think, but that's just me....I recon Grand Master Living down the other side of Branson which is a just a few miles away. Really..

Daniel Knoll
Daniel Knoll

the 'why' is the crux of it...it seems hard to profile a person by assumptions about who is driving a certain type of car when it's impossible to see who it is as they speed by.

Jake Parsons
Jake Parsons

You missed the point Bizarro Jake, I was simply suggesting that demographic data based on race does not tell a good story

Josh Goodman
Josh Goodman

Tony then I would take a step back and talk to my leaders about why so many blacks are doing things illegal and law enforcement need a reason to pull them over. I'm sure if they pulled over 100 black people and only found out 10 of them were doi g things illegal and then pulled over 100 white people and 80 of them were doing things illegal, they would be pulling over Whitey more then you think.

Smok Eingspirit
Smok Eingspirit

cbs news 60min. 60 minutes CBS Your show exposing the southern corrupt prosecutors is just the tip of the iceberg, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out why America has the highest prison rate, the highest addiction rates in the world , It’s time to expose their national program . Snowden, Manning, Assange are working to expose, some of what they are really doing in the name of public good. The prosecutors have known or should have known about the technology. The science they are using to target the smoker, the immoral, the Berkeley subversive, the gay, the heterosexual or anyone else who doesn’t meet their morality standards or just to make the states a little more RED. Some of their technology includes sound, light, air powered needless injectors and with access to all your phone calls emails bank records and the like, meta data quickly adds up and since they are allowed to disrupt the criminal element the smoker is forever the criminal, BUT Hover had his own public good, he was a blatant transvestite targeting and demonizing Adam and eve while secretly promoting Adam and Steve, gays are just good at networking that’s why they can profit so much. Right? If you won’t bend over for one of them they are allowed to use economic, social and emotional sabotage to convert you. They are not paid to write nice reports on pot smokers. And no one dare risk a promotion to challenge there lie, no judge or jury ever needed .The MORTAL Human who has a necessities, a genetic, a neurological, historical, natural and religious right to exist and to smoke or drink as he sees fit. These prosecutors are selling out our existence for their wallets. The Medical monopoly controls the crave. They work to make machines out of us at work, they doesn’t just make designer drugs for the jocks, and they don’t just lie about their fen-fen and Viox- and they just don’t control the crave with their nicotine patch or their Parkinson’s drug . While any highly questionable study can win FDA approval, the undercover working for these prosecutors are then allowed to rip the smoker off making him pay endlessly for the medical monopolies incompetence, and criminalizing him for using the power that God has granted all men the power over the plants and animals , they are selling out Americas freedom to fill their Prison Empire –Cities declare bankruptcy and they cut back on all the basic necessity for the people and the police demand they are going to put up cameras because they can’t get community support? They should be supporting the community not demanding the community support them. Every arrest equals a failure and if a teacher keeps failing its students it’s time to replace the teacher. And with a 90% failure rate you can be assured it’s not by gross incompetence or negligence, i.e. .. Edgewood , Kentucky drug farm, mk ultra, least we forget that it took drugs and courage to settle the old west anyone would be a fool to think the future would be any different the only difference are we doing to continue to let these prosecutors and their puppets operate with impunity? As we are forced to cut back on social security because Americas aging population, they have their population control as well they stone the Mary Magdalene far worse than they ever did in the bible times. Disaster economics is no longer just for the indivisual, with the 1% controlling all the money you might want to ask yourself who’s next? And what will you do when they come after you. Read more in the book ABOUT CHRISTIANS AND FREEDOM@ Amazon.com www.smokingspirit123.com

Jake Narup
Jake Narup

that's a silly comparison to make. a legacy of slavery/racism/inequality in the south has a way of limiting social mobility.

Tony Stephens
Tony Stephens

NO ...I'm not surprised. And YES.....it's racial profiling. Being black in Missouri (and many other states) is like walking around with a ski mask on. "They" think your always about to do something illegal.

Trish R Bertrand
Trish R Bertrand

Steve, The amount of robberies, and assaults that are never solved in SPG is staggering. Now, we know why.

Jake Parsons
Jake Parsons

Kurt, this is a very "sound" theory, but every major city in Mississippi is overwhelmingly populated by African-American residents - is this because the state of Mississippi is a beacon of racial harmony?

Whit Movesian
Whit Movesian

The point was about minorities being stopped. How is that not a race issue? Not trying to start a fight, but explain your point. I'm genuinely interested.

Steve Mincer
Steve Mincer

because people need a reason to bitch about something.

Robert A. West
Robert A. West

Pulling someone over because of their appearance is wrong (and illegal), plain and simple. It doesn't matter what "the odds" suggest

Steve Mincer
Steve Mincer

it's a crime issue. not a race issue. people want to MAKE it a race issue, but it's a crime issue.

Steve Mincer
Steve Mincer

actually, kurt didn't hit anything on the head. he's just throwing out a "distraction" statistic to avoid the uncomfortable question as to why would they "target" that group if there wasn't some kind of "success" for doing it.

Trent Bronson
Trent Bronson

yeah but pointing out facts like that just get Al Sharpton at your front doorstep.

Kurt Boemler
Kurt Boemler

Springfield, MO has a history of over 100 years of systemic racism. It's so bad, that Missouri State university has a hard time hiring minority professors. It is the whitest large city in the country with a black population in the single-digit percentages. Missouri is 13%. So there goes that theory.

Josh Goodman
Josh Goodman

Steve it doesn't matter. If they are black and are walking with a bag of Skittles and a can of tea you are automatically innocent.

Steve Mincer
Steve Mincer

actually...it doesn't answer the question of "what is the success rate for them pulling those people over?" you can dodge that question as long as you want, but that's what it still comes back to. you don't open a snowplow dealership in miami for a reason.

Trish R Bertrand
Trish R Bertrand

Kurt hit the nail on the head, only 3% of the population in SPG is African American.

Whit Movesian
Whit Movesian

Not to detract from what is clearly a race issue here, but are there any statistics on men with long hair (white, black, or otherwise) who get profiled in the same negative light as minorities? The point is people being judged on how they look.

cjharman
cjharman

Well, if you committed a moving violation, you're gonna get pulled over... If you are in a neighborhood known for high crime, realize that there is gonna be a lot more police there!

I am not a cop, but the ones that I have dealt with in Springfield seem to be pretty nice and fair. They are really busy here and understaffed! I also have to say that the Chief of Police in Springfield is a real stand up guy, he is really looking out the citizens in this town

Kurt Boemler
Kurt Boemler

Springfield, MO has a history of over 100 years of systemic racism. It's so bad, that Missouri State university has a hard time hiring minority professors. It is the whitest large city in the country with a black population in the single-digit percentages. Missouri is 13%. So there goes that theory.

Kelly Babillis
Kelly Babillis

Omg can we move onto some other topic already? So lame.....

Eric R Bricker
Eric R Bricker

nope that dont surprise me at all cops are pro-filer's.

Steve Mincer
Steve Mincer

if there was a high "success rate" of them pulling over the amish...the amish would get pulled over more often.

Joe Harman
Joe Harman

So, when are we going to start instituting affirmative action in police stops? If the officer is legally stopping a vehicle where the driver had committed a violation, what's the big deal?

Cindy Sacks
Cindy Sacks

Are a disproportionate number of crimes committed by blacks & hispanics? there

Steve Mincer
Steve Mincer

hmm...and if there wasn't a "success rate" for them doing that...would they do it? it's called "target marketing".

Jake Parsons
Jake Parsons

If you look at Springfield Mug Shots, you will notice that the arrests are still overwhelmingly white, although yes, statistically, the AA population in the Queen City is very small: http://springfieldmugshots.com/

Josh Goodman
Josh Goodman

And what are the stats for crimes being committed by blacks vs whites in Springfield? If blacks are committing more of the crime, its not profiling, its called playing the odds.

Matt Picker
Matt Picker

This is about as shocking as the sun rising this morning.

Trent Harvey
Trent Harvey

I don't think the statistic is as black and white as what it implies (pun intended)

st_louis63104
st_louis63104

Police activity is greater in shitty neighborhoods.  Police pull over shitty drivers.  Police pull over shitty looking cars (eg, those with the 30-day dealer tag that has been on there for three months because you didn't go get registered).

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