Motor and Other Vehicles

CHAPTER 31-21.1
Traffic Stops Statistics

SECTION 31-21.1-4

§ 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 stopped;

(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 containing:

(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 appropriate.

(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 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 chapter.

(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.

History of Section.
(P.L. 2000, ch. 251, § 1; P.L. 2003, ch. 230, § 2; P.L. 2003, ch. 240, § 2.)