Last year, a Durham Human Relations Commission report concluded that city police, either consciously or unconsciously, engaged in racial profiling. As the result of those findingswhich DPD disputedand other recommendations to increase transparency, the department is tracking more fine-grained data to determine if racial bias is occurring in traffic stops.
For example, officers who stop at least 25 vehicles and have at least a 75 percent stop rate for minorities are given additional scrutiny, including location, time, enforcement action and random reviews of in-car camera video.
Of the DPD’s 512 officers, 21 had a stop rate that triggered further analysis. According to a DPD vehicle-stop summary, 16 of those officers worked in either District 1 or District 4, which, according to census data, have high minority populations.
The FADE Coalition and other groups critical of DPD point out that the percentage of black drivers stopped (nearly 60 percent) is disproportionate to the city’s overall black population (40 percent).
However, DPD countered that racial bias does not contribute to traffic stops, stating that “we show no evidence of unexplainable disparities of stops, with officers stopping vehicles consistent with the demographics and crime statistics of their assignments.”
Number of traffic stops by Durham Police in 2014
of drivers stopped who were black
who were white
Number of people, both drivers and passengers, who were searched
of traffic stops involving black drivers resulting in consent searches*
of traffic stops involving white drivers resulting in consent searches
Number of drivers granting consent
Number of drivers denying it
of all searches resulting in contraband being found
of consent searches that did
of probable-cause searches that found contraband
of the time that whites received citations when stopped
of the time that blacks did
of the time that Hispanics did
*Since October, DPD officers have been required to get written consent for searches.