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Crime, Law & Justice

Traffic STOP Report Identifies EPD Recorded Citation Disparities Among Latinx Population

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Brian Bull
/
KLCC News

 

The Oregon Criminal Justice Commission released the Statistical Transparency of Policing (STOP) report in Dec. 2020, reviewing which community groups are disproportionately stopped by police officers.

 

Although it did not find Eugene Police Department conducted traffic or pedestrian stops, enforcement actions, searches, or arrests in disparate stops for Black populations, it did record disproportionate stops for Latinx community members.

From July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020, EPD stopped 371 Asian/Pacific Islander community members, 880 Black community members, 921 Latinx community members, 0 Middle Eastern community members (EPD does not log Middle Eastern race/ethnicity), 74 Native American community members, and 14,261 White community members.

Of the stops made by EPD, 91.4% (15,094) were traffic stops and 8.6% (1,424) were pedestrian stops. According to an EPD press release, “of all qualifying stops that are made by EPD officers, 100 % are reported, as EPD has an internal compliance program.”

EPD recorded the second highest amount of pedestrian stops out of a group of 12 surveyed agencies. The Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office stopped the most pedestrians with 1,434 stops.

The report identified disparities among Latinx community members who were recorded “for citations and/or for the combined measure of all dispositions (i.e., citation or search or arrest)” for five agencies — Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office, EPD, Hillsboro PD, Multnomah Co. SO, and Oregon State Police. For example, EPD’s actual citation count of 45.6% was 9.1% more than their predicted stop count for Latinx residents.

In the EPD press release, Chief Chris Skinner said having this information will help prevent future disparities.

“This is exactly why we have a STOP program,” wrote Skinner. “Having the information puts us on top of any trends we need to pay attention to. No one wants to hear there is even a slightly higher number for a certain population group.”

Skinner also said EPD will further analyze the data to provide more “equity in our activity.”

“We are glad that for all populations there is [no] disparity in the stops themselves and in stops leading to searches,” said Skinner. “We are going to take a deep dive into why the citations rate was higher than anticipated, what those citations were for, and also work with our Latinx community, to get a better understanding of the stops and outcomes.”

The report did not find disparity in EPD’s demographic stop data for veil of darkness — the initial decision to stop certain groups at night vs. during the day — or KPT Hit Rate Analysis — the rate of successful searches that result in the seizure of contraband.

During the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, in which residents were asked to stay home and limit travel, most police departments experienced a decrease in stops in the months of Mar., Apr., and May 2020 compared to 2019. In Apr., most agencies stopped at least 22% fewer individuals than in Apr. 2019.

But the Portland Police Bureau and EPD were the two agencies that did not follow this trend. In fact, stops in Mar. 2020 increased by 90.4% compared to Mar. 2019.

Future STOP reports, which will be published annually, will include data from all Oregon police departments and sheriffs’ offices, as required by House Bill 2355 which was passed in 2017.

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