Drs. Michael Smith, Rob Tillyer and researchers at UTEP study racial bias in police stops

06.06.17

Does race influence how often people are stopped and questioned by police?

Source:  Newswise 

When a 2015 newspaper analysis of traffic-stop data by the San Jose Police Department (SJPD) in San Jose, California, revealed that African-Americans and Latinos were more likely to be stopped, searched or temporarily detained than the rest of the city’s population, police department officials pledged to shine a light on the matter.

In 2016, the SJPD partnered with the Center for Law and Human Behavior (CLHB) at The University of Texas at El Paso to examine the correlation between individuals’ race/ethnicity and vehicle/pedestrian stop outcomes.

Criminal Justice Chair and Lead Researcher Dr. Michael Smith collaborated with Jeff Rojek, Ph.D., the CLHB’s associate director; Robert Tillyer, Ph.D., associate dean of the College of Public Policy at The University of Texas at San Antonio; and Caleb Lloyd, a former UTEP psychology assistant professor.  Ariel Stone, a research assistant on the project, helped to code two years’ worth of data for the researchers to analyze.  Stone, a general psychology doctoral student, said she wasn’t aware of the SJPD’s disparities in vehicle/pedestrian stops until she joined the project.  Read more on Newswise