Audit: Police underreporting required racial profiling data

Hartford police cruiser (WTNH /George Roelofsen)

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Police in Connecticut’s capital city have failed to report thousands of traffic stops as required by a state law aimed to prevent racial profiling, data analysts said Friday.

Hartford police submitted records for about 2,000 traffic stops between Oct. 1, 2015, and Sept. 30, 2016, but dispatch logs show there were about 6,500 stops during the same period, according to the analysts at Central Connecticut State University.

The university’s Institute for Municipal and Regional Policy compiles the data each year for reports analyzing the race and ethnicity of drivers stopped by police and why they were stopped. Analyst Ken Barone said there is concern officers are not filling out forms for each traffic stop.

Hartford police said Friday that the institute’s claims are not correct. They have said they believe there was a computer data transfer problem.

The institute has been analyzing statewide traffic stop information since October 2013, as part of a revamped version of the state’s 1999 anti-racial profiling law. The analyses have shown that Connecticut police stop black and Hispanic drivers at disproportionately high rates.

The most recent data showed police statewide reported making about 586,000 traffic stops between Oct. 1, 2014, and Sept. 30, 2015.

About 14 percent of the stops involved black drivers, while black people of driving age comprise 9 percent of the state’s population. Nearly 13 percent of traffic stops involved Hispanic drivers, while Hispanics of driving age comprise 12 percent of Connecticut residents.

Those rates were about the same as in the traffic stop report in the previous year.

The report for that year’s data also singled out 25 police officers who stopped minority drivers at significantly higher rates than white drivers.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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