PPB Response to Stops Data Collection and Safety and Justice Challenge Reports

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Portland Police Badge

November 25, 2019 09:35


On Monday, November 25th 2019, two reports were published including a report with an analysis of race and the criminal justice system in Multnomah County and a report on stops collection data by the Portland Police Bureau for 2018.

The W. Haywood Burns Institute published the "Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Multnomah County" report. The report can be found here: https://multco.us/lpscc/racial-and-ethnic-disparities-multnomah-county-report

Key information to know about the W. Haywood Burns Institute report includes:
* The analysis was done at the request of the Local Public Safety Coordinating Council (LPSCC), in which the Portland Police Bureau is an active participant,
* The Portland Police Bureau is one of several agencies who contribute to the arrest data pulled for this report; the data set is Multnomah County wide,
* The report looks at the criminal justice system as a whole in Multnomah County, such as arrests, incarceration rates, bail decisions, length of jail stay, charging decisions, and case dispositions, to name a few areas.

This report provides indications that disparities exist in some categories of the analysis amongst groups as defined by race. This is an issue the Portland Police Bureau and our local partners have been working to understand for many years and despite efforts to change policy, enhance training, and improve data, continues to remain an issue. This is a national issue that law enforcement and community partners are grappling to understand and address. The Portland Police Bureau continues to remain committed to looking for ideas and opportunities to improve and coordinate with partners to make positive strides.

Some key information to know in regards to this report includes:
* The Portland Police Bureau is one of many partners within the public safety system in Multnomah County,
* PPB Officers respond to 911 calls for service from the community, which at times result in arrests for criminal activity,
* The top offenses cited in the report include several charges that are indicative of drug and/or alcohol addiction. Drug and alcohol use are also connected to traffic crashes and fatalities and overdoses, which impact individuals, families and the community at large,
* PPB is committed to providing opportunities for those experiencing addiction issues to get support and assistance as evidenced in our continued partnerships with Multnomah County, the District Attorney's Office, service providers, and elected officials who help fund these needed services.

The Portland Police Bureau's 2018 Stops Data Collection Report was also published and is available at this link: https://www.portlandoregon.gov/police/article/747580 Prior Stops Data Collection Reports can be found at this link: https://www.portlandoregon.gov/police/72040

The Stops Data Collection Report is an assessment of traffic stops for drivers and pedestrians in Portland by the Portland Police Bureau. This report covers 29,385 stops in 2018, which is an increase of 32% over 2017. Even though it was an increase over the prior year, the total stops were a decline of 46% from five years prior. This report assessed stops, searches of drivers, driver stop outcome, stops of pedestrians, and a break down by gender, age, mental health status, and race. PPB has been collecting data on traffic and pedestrian stops since 2001.

There are a number of take-aways from the Stops Data Collection Report, including some data related to race and stops and searches. The report indicates several key findings:
* The rate of stops was not statistically different between perceived racial groups when compared to the injury collision and violent crime victimization benchmarks,
* In 2018, 6% of stops included a discretionary search. Non-Traffic division (patrol and investigative) officers performed 90% of the searches and the majority of these were consent searches,
* African American drivers were searched disproportionately compared to overall stop rates and were significantly more likely to be searched with consent when compared to other racial groups,
* Contraband was found on 37% of all searches and perceived race of the driver is not a significant predictor of whether or not contraband was found,
* Drivers found with contraband after a search are almost twice as likely to be arrested as other drivers. There were no other significant predictors for the outcome of a stop, including race / ethnicity of the driver.

PPB continues to implement changes and make improvements to increase understanding of the data and to identify opportunities to reduce disproportionate outcomes. Some changes include:
* Researching national best practices for stops data collection to identify additional data points or changes to current data collection that can provide further context to PPB stop activities as it relates to searches and stop reasons,
* Identifying needs for additional training to improve consistency and quality of stops data collection,
* Enlisting the services of a consultant to improve the use of stops data to inform training, policy, and practice,
* Additional training to improve consistency and quality of stops data collection will be provided to officers, as well as educating officers on the new data collection points and why they are important,
* PPB's Office of Equity and Inclusion is implementing an equity tool, and relevant training, for application when embarking upon planned missions and enforcement actions. The pilot for this tool and training is beginning with the Tactical Operations Division, to include the Gun Violence Reduction Team.

"It is important for us to continue to dig deeper into the context of the data and identify opportunities to improve the service we provide," said Chief Danielle Outlaw. "Reports such as these help us to realize that over-representation of certain races continues to exist in the criminal justice system and in our stops. The real question is why. We will continue to thoroughly examine the context of the data and work with partners and community to incorporate system change, policy change, and training as appropriate. We recognize that data demonstrating over representation by race in stops, arrests, and other areas in the criminal justice system creates distrust and fear within the community. It is time we move beyond reporting out on the data and into implementation of intentional strategies in an effort to create meaningful change, when appropriate."



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