After a Massachusetts statewide review showed racial disparities in traffic citations issued by police in nearly 250 communities, the state started an initiative to determine whether racial bias is to blame, the Boston Globe reports. The program asks officers to make a more extensive report every time they make a stop.
While police were previously required only to record the race and gender of drivers, now officers are being asked to note the duration and reason for the stop, the type of road, whether the car was searched, and what was found. Instead of recording the data only when they issue warnings or tickets, police are being asked to provide the information every time they stop a car. Katie Ford of the Executive Office of Public Safety said the expanded form takes 30 to 50 seconds to complete and could help departments build confidence in the fairness of their policing. If police were accused of stopping a high number of Hispanic women, they could turn to the data to show how the stops might have been justifiable. The forms were designed to provide context, Ford says.