Connecticut Central State University released its fourth annual analysis of police traffic stop data on Tuesday.
After compiling and analyzing data from more than 500,000 traffic stops across 107 law enforcement agencies, researchers from the Institute for Municipal and Regional Policy said racial profiling is on the decline.
“This is really the first year where we are seeing disparities decrease, fewer departments being identified, which is a clear indication that Connecticut is on the right path,” explained Ken Barone, a research specialist with the Institute of Municipal and Regional Policy.
Barone said while the results are promising, this year’s study found disparities in Derby, Fairfield, Meriden, Wethersfield and State Police troops in Tolland and Colchester. Researchers delved deeper into the disparities in Derby and Fairfield. According to the study, minority drivers stopped by police in Derby represented 38.5 percent of total stops, while Fairfield’s minority driver stops represented 31.5 percent. These were both higher than the state average of 30.6 percent. Researchers noted that other factors, such as census data and heavy traffic flow, likely contributed to Fairfield and Derby’s increased numbers. Both municipalities police chiefs responded to the findings, claiming the 2010 census data used in the study did not reflect the current makeup of their communities.
“We believe that the analysis is comprehensive,” said Chief L.J. Fusaro of the Connecticut Police Chiefs Association said. “Like anything, it’s not perfect, but certainly we as a group have insisted on constant improvement.”
While the report pointed to a decrease in racially-motivated traffic stops, Barone said the study found minorities are being treated differently after a traffic stop compared to white drivers. This includes whether a driver gets a warning, ticket or a search of the car.
“Minority drivers are more likely to receive different outcomes even when stopped for the same reason as white drivers,” Barone said.
When asked if allocating local and state resources to study racial profiling is worthwhile, Wethersfield resident Kyle Carso offered his support.
“It’s incredibly important, at least, just to bring more awareness to that, just as a local business owner, I hear a lot about it in town, so I know it’s in public consciousness.”
CCSU says the data for 2018 will be released in the fall.
To read the report, click here.