Chapter 240

Chapter 240

2003 -- H 6090 AS AMENDED

Enacted 07/17/03






     Introduced By: Representatives Almeida, Williams, Slater, Tejada, and Ajello

     Date Introduced: February 13, 2003     



It is enacted by the General Assembly as follows:


     SECTION 1. Preamble. Whereas, the General Assembly adopted legislation in 2000

establishing a study of, and barring the use of, racial profiling in the stopping or searching of

motorists; and

     WHEREAS, "Racial profiling" was defined in that legislation as the disparate treatment

of an individual "solely" on the basis of the person's race or ethnic status; and

     WHEREAS, The Police Executive Research Forum and many other national analysts of

the issue have since recognized that such a definition, if interpreted literally, is so narrow as to

fail to accurately and adequately describe, or to allow for a meaningful analysis of, the conduct at

issue; and

     WHEREAS, The traffic stop study advisory committee established pursuant to section

31-21.1-3 of the general laws, the attorney general, and the entity procured pursuant to section

31-21.1-4(f) of the general laws to conduct a statistical analysis of the study, have also recognized

the need to clarify this definition; and

     WHEREAS, Additional time is needed in order to prepare the final report of the study

analyzing traffic stops statistics data.

     SECTION 2. Sections 31-21.1-2, 31-21.1-4 and 31-21.1-5 of the General Laws in

Chapter 31-21.1 entitled "Traffic Stops Statistics" are hereby amended to read as follows:

     31-21.1-2. Declaration and policy. -- The general assembly declares that the use of

racial profiling as the sole reason for stopping or searching motorists on our public highways is

against public policy and violates the civil rights of the motorist. For purposes of this chapter,

"racial profiling" means the detention, interdiction or other disparate treatment of an individual

solely on the basis, in whole or in part, of the racial or ethnic status of such individual, except

when such status is used in combination with other identifying factors in seeking to apprehend a

specific suspect whose racial or ethnic status is part of the description of the suspect. The purpose

of this chapter is to conduct a study of the traffic stops by the police to determine whether racial

profiling is occurring and to require that police prohibit the practice of racial profiling.

     31-21.1-4. Traffic stop study. -- (a) The attorney general is authorized to and shall

conduct a study of routine traffic stops by the Rhode Island state police and each municipal police

department. The study shall include the collection and analysis of the data received from the

police department pursuant to this section, which shall include the following information for each

traffic stop conducted by the police:

      (1) The date, time and general location of the traffic stop;

      (2) The race or ethnicity, gender, and approximate age of the driver stopped; provided

that the identification of these characteristics shall be based on the observation and perception of

the police officer making the stop and the information shall not be requested of the person


      (3) The reason for the stop;

      (4) Whether a search was instituted as a result of the stop;

      (5) The scope of any search conducted;

      (6) Whether the search was conducted pursuant to consent, probable cause, or reasonable

suspicion to suspect a crime;

      (7) Whether any contraband, including money, was seized in the course of the search,

and if so, the nature of the contraband;

      (8) Whether any warning or citation was issued as a result of the stop;

      (9) Whether an arrest was made as a result of either the stop or the search;

      (10) The approximate duration of the stop; and

      (11) Whether the vehicle is registered in Rhode Island or out of the state.

      (b) Not later than ninety (90) days after July 13, 2000, the attorney general, with the

advice of the committee, shall develop a form, in both printed and electronic format, to be used

by each police officer when making a traffic stop to record the data required under this chapter.

      (c) Beginning January 15, 2001, and monthly thereafter, each municipal police

department and the Rhode Island state police shall transmit to the attorney general a report


      (1) All of the forms collected to date of motorists who were stopped;

      (2) Any complaints filed by motorists who believed they were the subject of racial

profiling, provided that no information revealing the identity of the complainant, witnesses or the

law enforcement officer involved in the traffic stop shall be used, transmitted or disclosed in

violation of the provisions of Chapter 28.6 of Title 42, the Law Enforcement Officers' Bill of

Rights; and

      (3) Any other information the police department or Rhode Island state police deem


      (d) The study authorized under this chapter shall include a multi-variate analysis of the

collected data in accordance with general statistical standards. The attorney general shall collect

data for a period of not less than twenty-four (24) months and report its findings and conclusions

to the governor and the general assembly not later than twenty-eight (28) thirty (30) months after

the commencement of the collection of data under this chapter. The report, findings and

conclusions submitted pursuant to this subsection shall be deemed a public record.

      (e) In addition, the attorney general, with the advice of the committee, shall prepare on a

quarterly basis a summary report of the monthly data provided by each police department and the

state police for that quarterly period. The report shall be a public record. The summary report

shall include a monthly breakdown by race for each police department of the number of traffic

stops made and of searches conducted, and any other information deemed appropriate by the

attorney general with the advice of the committee. The report shall be released not more than

ninety (90) days after the end of each quarterly period. No information revealing the identity of

any individual shall be contained in the report.

      (f) Upon July 13, 2000, the attorney general with the advice of the committee shall

procure the services of an organization, company, person or other entity with sufficient expertise

in the field of statistics to assist with the implementation of this chapter. The organization,

company, person or other entity so retained shall assist the attorney general and the committee

with the design of the methodology for gathering statistics pursuant to this chapter, monitor

compliance with the act throughout the study, and conduct a statistical analysis at the conclusion

of the study to determine the extent to which racial profiling exists within the state.

      (g) Appropriate funding shall be made available to implement the provisions of this


      (h) The department of attorney general shall be exempt from the provisions of chapter 2

of title 37 in connection with its procurement of equipment and services necessary to the

implementation of this chapter.

     31-21.1-5. Adoption of written policies. -- (a) Not later than ninety (90) days after July

13, 2000 January 1, 2004, each police department and the state police shall adopt written policies

which shall:

      (1) Provide a system for the collection of the data required under section 31-21.1-3 and

the transmission of the data to the attorney general as required; and

      (2) Prohibit prohibit the use of racial profiling as the sole reason for stopping or

searching motorists for routine traffic stops.

      (b) Copies of the policies adopted pursuant to this section shall be submitted to the

attorney general and the committee, and shall be public records.

     SECTION 3. This act shall take effect upon passage.