Vermont State Police release 2019 data on traffic stops and race

Local News
Vermont State Police, Middlesex Barracks

WATERBURY, Vt. – Vermont State Police released new data on traffic stops conducted in 2019, and while racial disparities in who gets pulled over were unchanged from 2018, troopers conducted far fewer searches of vehicles last year.

White drivers represented 92.5 percent of all traffic stops last year, a slight decrease from 2018. Black drivers were pulled over at about the same rate, about 2.7 percent, as in 2018. Rates of traffic stops involving Asian and Hispanic drivers also saw little change.

Col. Matthew T. Birmingham, director of the Vermont State Police, said the latest data show that racial disparities remain and “we have work to do.”

“Our efforts over the past decade to address these disparities, while significant, have not been enough to eliminate them,” he said.

This is the fifth year Vermont State Police have released traffic stop data in an effort to address documented racial disparities in discretionary car stops.

Here’s a closer look at the numbers.

Traffic Stops
Race2019 Number of Stops2018 Number of Stops
White54,22254,299
Black1,6111,559
Asian1,2221,217
Hispanic868782
Native American4746
Troopers made 57,971 discretionary motor vehicle stops in 2019, an increase of 131 from 2018,
Searches: 2019
RaceNumber SearchedContraband FoundHit Rate
White1068176.42%
Black141071.43%
Asian300%
Hispanic141285.71%
Native American0N/AN/A
Troopers conducted 137 vehicle searches in 2019, a 75 percent decrease from 2018. The “hit rate” or percentage of stops that result in a seizure of contraband also went down.
Searches: 2018
RaceNumber SearchedContraband Found Hit Rate
White39031981.79%
Black302480%
Asian55100%
Hispanic151173.33%
Native American0N/AN/A
Tickets
Race2019 Percentage2018 Percentage
White36.6%36.2%
Black42.9%40.1%
Asian49.5%50.4%
Hispanic45.3%42.5%
Native American36.2%42.2%
Troopers issues tickets in 37.1 percent of all traffic stops. Black and Hispanic drivers were ticketed at higher rates in 2019 compared to the previous year.

Since 2015, Vermont State Police have made some changes to address racial disparities, including collecting data on traffic stops trooper-by-trooper and having their supervisors continually review the data.

The agency also created a new position, Director of Fair and Impartial Policing and Community Affairs, which is currently held by Capt. Garry Scott.

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