COLUMBIA – The Citizens Police Review Board will discuss the 2019 vehicle stop data Wednesday evening.
Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt released the 2019 data in June. The data shows the percentage of drivers stopped based on county and racial/ethnic group.
The 2019 vehicle stops report data is an annual report of traffic stops from law enforcement agencies across Missouri.
The numbers in the 2019 report are based on the 2010 population census and the data collected by individual counties in 2018.
In Boone County, the data shows Black drivers were stopped at a rate 4.63 times higher than white drivers. This number is based on the racial disparity index, which takes the proportion of stops in a racial/ethnic group and divides it by the proportion of the population.
The disparity index for the state of Missouri is 1.79, as 10.9 percent of the driving age population is Black, yet account of 19.5 percent of all vehicle stops throughout the state.
Black drivers account for nearly 10 percent of Boone County’s population, yet 35 percent of the drivers stopped in 2019 were Black, according to the Columbia Police Department’s data.
In an emailed statement, the Communications and Outreach Supervisor for the Columbia Police Department explained Chief Jones’ response to the disparity data.
“To start to identify the factors affecting traffic stops, he [Chief Geoff Jones] appointed the Vehicle Stop Committee to review the data and advise him on ways to address disparities,” Toni Messina said.
According to the Missouri Attorney General’s website, there are multiple factors that may account for a higher disparity index among groups. The factors include: policing strategies and policies, differences in real rates of offending between racial groups, implicit bias and explicit bias.
Don Love is a member of the Columbia Police Department’s Vehicle Stop Committee. He will present the 2019 vehicle stop data at the Citizens Police Review Board on Wednesday night.
“My goal for this presentation is to show officers the data to let them see when they are treating groups differently,” Love said. “I start with the perspective of the vulnerable individual.”
CPD adopted a new Bias-Free Policing Policy in 2018 to hold officers more accountable in the community. Love explained this new policy has helped decrease the disproportion of consent searches during traffic stops in years past.
“This policy forces officers to really stop and think before they do an investigation,” Love said. “When officers act based on facts and not stereotypes it helps decrease that [disproportion].”
The Citizens Police Review Board meeting starts Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Columbia City Hall. The meeting is open to the public.