LANSING, MI (WLNS) – For more than a decade, researchers with Michigan State University’s Criminal Justice Department have studied data from the Lansing Police Department to determine whether or not officers follow the law when it comes to making traffic stops.
This report covers data from nearly two years of fact-gathering, and MSU researchers continue to find that there is absolutely no evidence that suggests LPD officers use racial profiling.
They also found officers follow department policies and protocol.
“We’ve taken a proactive stance at looking at these issues in that we do not condone, we don’t tolerate, and we don’t practice bias policing,” Lansing Police Chief Mike Yankowski said.
The research team found that traffic enforcement in the city of Lansing has remained stable over the last couple of years. Data shows a majority of traffic stops were initiated because an officer observed some sort of moving violation.
When it came down to traffic stops that included searches, a majority of them, 66 percent were incident to arrest, reducing the probability of the search to be based on racial profiling.
In one table, drivers race, number of stops, searches, contraband discoveries and seizures were analyzed.
There were 5,706 traffic stops involving white drivers, during those stops, roughly 27 percent of the time a search was conducted, and about 27 percent of the time something was discovered.
When it comes to African American drivers, there were 3,805 stops in that same time period.
During those stops, roughly 44 percent of the time a search was conducted, and about 45 percent of the time something was discovered.
Among the Hispanic and Asian-American population-, numbers are significantly lower.
“The majority of the searches that were done were due to the fact that there was procedure guidelines that needed to be followed, meaning A: the person was arrested or their car was being towed and thus an inventory search needed to be done to accommodate the procedures,” Chief Yankowski said.
Data revealed that Lansing Police officers only conducted traffic stops based on probable cause and minorities aren’t treated any differently than whites during them.
“We’re being very proactive when it comes to our interactions with our citizens,” Chief Yankowski said. “Whether it’s in a vehicle stop, whether it’s a face to face encounter, an investigative stop, we’re treating people with dignity and respect.”
Take a look at the full report here.