Study of traffic stops find trends of racial profiling in San Diego
San Diego (KUSI) — A recent study by San Diego State looked at tens of thousands of traffic stops over a 2-year period and found a general trend in racial disparities, including profiling.
The city has been taking a pro-active approach to improving the relationship between police and the city’s minority neighborhoods by focusing on working with the community to effectively address crime, quality of life and traffic stops.
Joshua Chanin of the school of public affairs presented the report to the council saying 260 thousand traffic stops were reviewed.
“After each traffic stop cops are required to fill out a data stop card which required officers to catalog the demographics of the stopee and the nature of the stop.”
The data showed that blacks and Hispanics are stopped more often, searched more often, and given citations rather than warnings than white drivers.
Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman said community policing, which is cops engaging with the public, is at the core of what the department does.
“We all agree that racial profiling or the stopping of a person solely because of the color of their skin is wrong and we do not teach nor tolerate racial profiling.”
She mentioned the hundreds of hours of training the cops are given throughout their years on the job, and much of it is related to the relationship between the cops and citizens.
“We listen to our community’s concerns and this is why we focus attention of these conversations during our training.”
Back in the late 1980’s the city created the first temporary police advisory board after citizen complaints and a controversial police shooting but the board has had no members from 2001 until late until last year.
The council has now reinstated the board, gave it updated powers, and seated 15 new members. It will review and recommend strategies for improving crime prevention efforts, and develop programs to make law enforcement more sensitive, effective, and responsive.
It will also inform the community of its rights and responsibilities when coming into contact with police.