VSP: Data shows progress in addressing racial disparities

Local News
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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).

    Demographics:
    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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