VSP: Data shows progress in addressing racial disparities

Local News

Vermont State Police say disparities in search rates between white and minority drivers remain, but say the gap is narrowing.

2018 traffic-stop data was released Monday at a meeting of the Fair and Impartial Policing Committee, in South Royalton.  This is the fourth year such information has been released.

In a news release issued Monday night, VSP also indicated searches of drivers occurred in only a small amount of discretionary stops, where contraband was turned up more than 81% of the time.

2018 data:

    Total stops: The state police stopped 57,964 motor vehicles in 2018, a decrease of 6,129 stops from 2017 (64,093).

    White operators: 54,299 stops, accounting for 93.68 percent of total stops. There were 59,998 such stops in 2017.
    Black operators: 1,559 stops, accounting for 2.69 percent of total. In 2017, there were 1,616 such stops.
    Asian operators: 1,217 stops, accounting for 2.10 percent of total. There were 1473 such stops in 2017.
    Hispanic operators: 782 stops, accounting for 1.35 percent of total. There were 932 such stops in 2017.
    Native American operators: 46 stops, accounting for 0.08 percent of total. In 2017, there were 64 such stops.

    Searches: The Vermont State Police searched 565 operators in 2017. That translates to about 0.009 percent of total stops.
    White operators: 390. Contraband found: 319 (hit rate 81.79 percent).
    Black operators: 30. Contraband found: 24 (hit rate 80.00 percent).
    Asian operators: 5. Contraband found: 5 (hit rate 100 percent).
    Hispanic operators: 15. Contraband found: 11 (hit rate 73.33 percent).
    Native American: 0.

    Tickets: 36.6 percent of all operators stopped received a ticket, with a demographic breakdown as follows:
    White operators: 36.2 percent.
    Black operators: 40.1 percent.
    Asian operators: 50.4 percent.
    Hispanic operators: 42.5 percent.
    Native American operators: 42.2 percent.

Police say since 2015, the Vermont State Police added the position of director of Fair and Impartial Policing and Community Affairs.

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