Stops Data Collection Report Released by Portland Police Bureau

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February 19, 2014 16:35

  

Today, Wednesday February 19, 2014, the Portland Police Bureau released the Stops Data Collection Report, covering the 2011 stops and search data analysis.

The report has been posted to the Portland Police Bureau's website and can be found at https://www.portlandoregon.gov/police/article/481668

This report documents the Portland Police Bureau's (PPB) follow up to the Portland State University's Criminal Justice and Policy Research Institute (CJPRI) report, "Benchmarking Portland Police Bureau Traffic Stops and Search Data," (Renauer, Henning, & Covelli, Benchmarking Portland Police Bureau Traffic Stop and Search Data, 2009). That report arose out of a request for technical assistance from the CJPRI, aimed at improving how the PPB collects and analyzes its stop and search data.

This report provides:

* A review of the recommendations made by CJPRI.
* A review of the improvements made to the stops data collection process and updated benchmarking techniques.
* The 2011 PPB stops and search data analysis.

One of the main purposes of this document is to provide a resource to those charged with facilitating or participating in discussions around racial disparities in the Portland Police Bureau's stop and search data. The hope is that these analyses and information will provide a broader understanding of where disparities exist and what types of relationships can be explored with this type of data. This is important for enhancing discussions around disparities and making informed decisions on strategies for addressing racial disparities.

Work on this report was started in 2012 and was complicated by the Bureau's movement from a CAD system to VCAD. An initial draft was first presented to the Community Police Relations Committee (CPRC) in June 2013, which asked for additional follow-up on several items. The report was then revised for release.

The Portland Police Bureau has been collecting data, in some form, on police stops since 2001. These data are available at: http://www.portlandoregon.gov/police/42284

Outside reports on Bureau stops data have consistently cited the lack of insight for why variations may occur as a weakness in the Bureau's historic approach to disseminating stops data. Conversations with community members have also revealed frustration around simply releasing data without context.

The Bureau's goal is to be a leader in the collection and analysis of stops data and to continually improve the quality of both processes. The Bureau recognizes that, although there are limitations to analyzing stop and search data, examining disparate outcomes is a highly important part of assessing our services to the community.

This report aims to:

* Document and explain to the community in general and the Community and Police Relations Committee (CPRC) the steps the Police Bureau is taking to improve Stops Data Collection and Analysis.
* Provide examples of different ways this data can be used.
* Analysis of the stops data for this report is intentionally presented in different formats so that the Portland Police Bureau can work with the CPRC to determine the ideal format for future analyses.
* Provide context for why disparities exist and inform the community around tactics employed by the police, which may increase disparities in stops.
* This will hopefully inform a discussion around which tactics to employ and how to develop better solutions to problems related to disparities in exposure to violent crime.
* Inform a discussion around what benchmarks will be used to determine the level of disparity and what kinds of analysis the community and the Bureau will find helpful so that future reports can be tailored to meet the needs of the community and the Bureau in developing plans to reduce disparities in stops and searches.

The Police Bureau recognizes the importance of improving communication with the community around the reasons disparities exist in stops and search data. The lack of context in existing reports has been a source of frustration for the community, Police Bureau and for researchers working with the Bureau data. This report contains sections examining disparities and discussing how the data can be interpreted.

Some readers may find the interpretation sections frustrating because often definite conclusions cannot be drawn regarding the cause of racial disparities in this type of data. However, examining racial disparities is still a critical component of identifying root causes of disparities through a combination of data analysis and discussion, and being able to monitor improvements over time.

The Portland Police Bureau is currently engaged in a relatively new initiative to increase equity and diversity by addressing racial disparities at an organizational level. The Bureau is also following up on the 2009 Plan to Address Racial Profiling, of which this report is a product.

The current organizational level initiative began in July of 2011, when the Portland Police Bureau requested the assistance of the Human Rights Commission's (HRC) Community and Police Relations Committee (CPRC) to develop a plan to address institutional racial issues, increase diversity, and create a more inclusive environment within the Portland Police Bureau.

Equity training was first pilot tested in late November 2012, and was delivered to Command Staff (approximately 60) in December 2012. All sergeants were trained in 2013. Officers will begin going through the training in 2014.

In the 2014-15 budget request, the Bureau is asking for funding to hire an Equity and Diversity Program Manager, which will be dedicated to implementing practices, policies and procedures in the Police Bureau to lead to continuous improvement toward these goals.

Additionally, the Bureau continues to recruit and hire police officers from a diverse background. Between 2011 and 2013, hiring was nearly 41% female and/or people of color.

Finally, the PPB has continued to work on its Racial Profiling Plan Strategies. The original document can be located here: http://www.portlandoregon.gov/police/index.cfm?&a=230887

Below are some highlights of the work that has been done:

* Modified recruiting practices to increase the diversity of the applicant pool (including traveling out-of-state to more diverse cities for testing and doing more focused outreach here in Portland).
* Working with the CPRC to develop new trainings around equity issues (introductory trainings have already been administered to command and sergeants).
* Provide additional training around searches and "mere consent" to ensure the constitutionality of PPB searches.

The Portland Police Bureau wants the community to know that bias-based policing is not acceptable.

Community members who believe they have been stopped solely because of their ethnicity are encouraged to file a complaint with the Auditor's Office of Independent Police Review (IPR) by visiting http://www.portlandonline.com/auditor/index.cfm?c=26646 or calling (503) 823-0146.

###PPB###

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Media Relations:
Sgt. Pete Simpson
Peter.Simpson@portlandoregon.gov
Desk: 503-823-0830
Pager: 503-790-1779


Portland Police Bureau
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Portland, Oregon 97204