The Iowa State Patrol released a report today on an 18-month self study of traffic stops designed to determine if race matters when troopers pull you over. Dick Moore, the director of the Iowa Division of Criminal & Juvenile Justice Planning, compiled the report that included over 600-thousand traffic stops.He says the indications are that troopers are not stopping people based on race, though he says once stopped, there are indications that people who aren’t caucasion are more likely to be searched. Moore says fewer searches of caucasions, does not indicate a pattern of profiling. He says additional information would be needed to make a link between the search and racial profiling, such as outstanding warrants against the individual and the reaction of the people in the car before and during the stop. Moore says traffic violations were the number one reason troopers made traffic stops. He says the information also raises a question about the penalties given after the stops. He says the data may indicate that white people are more likely to get a warning and are the least likely to be arrested. He says the data may also indicate that African-Americans, Latinos and Native Americans were more likely to be arrested. Moore says you can’t make any concrete assessments of the data, because officers weren’t able to identify the race of over four percent of the drivers who were stopped. He says there was also a lot of other unknowns. He says the data doesn’t indicate if the people arrested had outstanding warrants, and it doesn’t indicate if one person was stopped for going 75 miles-an-hour, and another one was stopped doing 125 miles-an-hour. Moore says it’s hard to make such surveys 100 percent accurate, because there’s no way to absolutely determine everyone’s race. He says you can’t ask a person about their race, driver’s licenses don’t include the information, so he says you have to be very careful about any conclusion you draw from the information. Without all the information needed, Moore says you can only draw a general conclusion.The man who leads the Patrol, Colonel Robert Garrison, says he doesn’t know if the data point to a serious concern because there are too many unknowns. He says he is “not immediately alarmed though.” Garrison says he’s confident his troopers are doing the right thing, and cites the data on arrests as an example.While the data shows that African-Americans, Lations and Native Americans are arrested more than caucasions, he says those arrests have to be made with a warrant that can’t be manipulated. Garrison says the Patrol instituted the study to ensure it’s doing the best job that it can, and says they’ll be talking with various groups in the state to address any concerns.
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