Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

Pretext Police Stops Are Not Racist, Say Multiple California Police Unions, and Here's Why Not

The reality is that law enforcement professionals target behavior and not race

Los Angeles (CA)--The California Racial and Identity Profiling Advisory Board (Board) released its Report on Police Stop Data for 2022 made by California law enforcement agencies. The Los Angeles Police Protective League and the San Francisco and San Jose Police Officers Associations issued this joint statement in response:

"This latest RIPA report takes the easy way out by relying on a dizzying number of charts, figures and statistics instead of presenting a serious public policy analysis. The reality is that law enforcement professionals target behavior and enforce the laws that are on the books. The report attempts to make the case that any car stop above the population percentage of any given race must be racial profiling. That's intellectually dishonest. Apparently, the RIPA report authors are advocating for some sort of racial quotas when it comes to enforcing traffic laws, regardless of the observed behavior of drivers. Simply put, if a driver has a car with out-of-date vehicle registration tags, a broken brake or headlight, or is driving recklessly or speeding, then they are most likely going to get pulled over. That is all about behavior and not race.

How do car stops in jurisdictions align with the demographics of reported criminal suspects? Why is it that in the jurisdictions that have reduced stops, or ended pretext stops, the racial make-up of the stops does not vary very much, nor do the results of searches? Is it because race is not a driving factor in stops?

This report lacks any objective or thorough analysis as to why some individuals choose to drive without valid car registration tags or in a vehicle that is unsafe for the road. Could it be California's exorbitant vehicle registration fees? Could it be rampant inflation that has caused auto repair costs to skyrocket? Could it be the high cost of mandatory auto insurance that may put poor drivers in the unenviable position of choosing between paying for insurance or registering their car?

The report fails to analyze which locations in the state have the lowest rates of vehicle registration. Do those locations have a higher number of car stops for expired or no tags? And if the car stop rate is higher in those locations, then what is the population racial breakdown in those locations, and shouldn't that be part of what is analyzed? Do racial groups with a higher rate of valid car registrations versus a racial group with a lower rate have more or less vehicle stops when compared to their percent of the population?

We can all read charts and graphs, but what is needed is a deeper analysis to get at the root causes of why people choose to drive unregistered cars or speed through neighborhoods or drive with broken safety equipment. Unfortunately, this report falls short in this regard."


Los Angeles Police Protective League

San Francisco Police Officers Association

San Jose Police Officers Association


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