Results of city of San Diego study on racial profiling coming soon

Posted at 1:47 PM, Oct 27, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-27 16:47:59-04

SAN DIEGO - Full results of a comprehensive study on vehicle stops by police in San Diego and how they relate to race and ethnicity will be made public by Thanksgiving, city officials said Wednesday.

Preliminary findings, presented at a meeting of the City Council's Public Safety and Livable Neighborhoods Committee, showed a disparity between races impacted by traffic stops in 2014, but not as much last year.

Researchers from the San Diego State University School of Public Affairs reviewed tens of thousands of data cards fill out by SDPD officers about stops to put together their conclusions on whether racial profiling is a problem in the city.

Among the early findings:

-- black drivers were 20 percent more likely to be stopped during the day than white drivers
-- younger black motorists were 45 percent more likely to be pulled over than their younger white counterparts
-- blacks were 53 percent more likely to be searched during a stop than whites, but 44 percent less likely to be found in possession of contraband
-- the arrest rates of 1.8 percent between blacks and whites were the same

"This is just the first step in laying out what was found by the researchers, and also creating a path that we need to follow to correct any problems the city has in this regard," committee Chairwoman Marti Emerald said.

The full report will be released by Thanksgiving, and will be presented to the committee at its Nov. 16 meeting, city Chief Operating Officer Scott Chadwick said.

"This is something critically important, I think not only to the community but the police department," Chadwick said. "We welcomed the opportunity to have worked with San Diego State, and we want to get this finalized as soon as possible."

The SDSU report included several recommendations -- among them an acknowledgement of the existence of racial and ethnic disparities, enhancing training in the area of bias, replacing data cards with an improved record-keeping system and making community engagement a core value.

Chief Shelley Zimmerman said the SDPD has taken steps to address the issue in the past two years.

"We have made significant progress on the recommendation to enhance officer training and oversight," Zimmerman said. "We've enhanced our training program over the past two years to integrate a variety of courses in our annual command training and advanced officer training."

She said courses are provided on procedural justice and other issue with the intent of increasing self-awareness among department employees.