Dubuque Police department requesting traffic stop study on racia - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Dubuque Police department requesting traffic stop study on racial disparities

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DUBUQUE (KWWL) -

Some might agree being pulled over in traffic by police, isn't exactly a likeable experience.

Because of public scrutiny, the Dubuque Police Department wants to find out if their officers have any bias during traffic stops. "So  traffic stops, officers are allowed more discretion so we just want to make sure they're not abusing that discretion and using it appropriately," said Lt. Scott Baxter.

The study will be done by St. Ambrose University. "This particular study, I know it will take into account demographics versus just numbers on a piece of paper. We're gonna be looking at how the population is composed, who makes up that population, where they live, where the traffic stops are being conducted," Baxter said.

The department already analyzes their own internal data when an officer has any interaction with the public. "There's no major red flags at this moment. Our traffic stops are recorded, and analyzed and looks at obviously race gender, categories such as those," added Baxter.

Still, department leaders want to make sure officers are not abusing their authority. "We don't expect any surprises. This is just a proactive measure that we feel will kinda reinforce the good work our officers are doing and hopefully instill some increased confidence among our citizens for their police department, so like I said we don't anticipate any surprises, but we wanna be sure," said Baxter.

KWWL reached out to the Dubuque Branch of the NAACP. In a brief statement they say, "when it comes to discretionary stops, determining biases or discrimination is hard to prove. From an NAACP standpoint there have been community members come to us and say I was stopped because I was black..... But how do you prove that?"

The independent study will cost the police department $25,000. If approved by the city council, it'll take about one year to complete. 

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