TITLE 31
Motor and Other vehicles

CHAPTER 31-21.2
Comprehensive Community-Police Relationship Act of 2015

SECTION 31-21.2-6


§ 31-21.2-6 Continued data collection.

(a) The office of highway safety of the Rhode Island department of transportation or a designee to be chosen by the department of transportation by January 1, 2017, is authorized to and shall conduct a study of routine traffic stops by the Rhode Island state police and each municipal police department in order to determine whether racial disparities in traffic stops exist, and to examine whether searches of vehicles and motorists are being conducted in a disparate manner.

(b) The office of highway safety of the Rhode Island department of transportation or its designee shall, no later than January 1, 2016, develop a form or electronic equivalent to be used by each police officer when making a traffic stop to record the data required under this chapter, which form shall include for each motor vehicle stop, the race and ethnicity of the driver based on the officer's perception, and the information listed in § 31-21.1-4.

(c) The office of highway safety of the Rhode Island department of transportation or its designee shall advise the Rhode Island state police and each municipal police department of the date that data collection shall commence. Data collection shall begin not later than January 1, 2016, but may begin prior to that time upon notification to police departments from the office of highway safety of the Rhode Island department of transportation or its designee.

(d) A traffic stop data collection card or electronic equivalent shall be completed for each routine traffic stop by the Rhode Island state police and municipal police department during the term of this study.

(e) Upon commencement of data collection, and monthly thereafter, each municipal police department and the Rhode Island state police shall transmit to the office of highway safety of the Rhode Island department of transportation or its designee all forms or electronic data collected to date of motorists who were stopped, and any other information the police department or the Rhode Island state police deem appropriate. Data collection shall continue for forty-eight (48) months following commencement of data collection.

(f) Appropriate funding may be made available to implement the provision of this chapter and completion of this study shall be contingent upon such funding.

(g) The study shall include a multivariate analysis of the collected data in accordance with general statistical standards and shall be substantially similar to the study prepared pursuant to chapter 21.1 of this title. The study shall be prepared by an organization, company, person, or other entity with sufficient expertise in the field of statistics and the study of traffic stop data collection to assist with the implementation of this chapter, and chosen by the office of highway safety of the Rhode Island department of transportation or its designee. The study shall be released on an annual basis, with the first release not later than eighteen (18) months after commencement of data collection under this chapter. The report, findings, and conclusions submitted pursuant to this subsection shall be a public record.

(h) The office of highway safety of the Rhode Island department of transportation, or its designee, 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.

(i) On a quarterly basis, a summary report of the monthly data provided by each police department and the state police for that quarterly period shall be issued. The report shall be a public record. The summary report shall include, at a minimum, a monthly breakdown by race, age, gender, and outcome for operators for each police department of the number of traffic stops made and of searches conducted. For those police departments collecting data through the use of mobile display terminals in police vehicles, the report shall also include a breakdown by race and outcome for operators. 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.

(j) Every law enforcement agency collecting data pursuant to this chapter shall ensure that supervisory personnel review each officer's stop and search documentation and data results on a monthly basis to ensure compliance with all policies, prohibitions, and documentation requirements.

(k) The head of every law enforcement agency subject to this chapter, or his or her designee, shall review the data on a regular basis in an effort to determine whether any racial disparities in the agency's traffic stops enforcement exists, and to appropriately respond to any such disparities. It is understood that disparities may or may not equate to racial profiling.

(l) An organization chartered for the purpose of combating discrimination, racism, or of safeguarding civil liberties, or of promoting full, free, or equal employment opportunities, and/or a governmental or quasi-governmental entity may seek appropriate relief in a civil action against any police department for failing to collect or transmit the data required in this chapter, and may be awarded its costs, including attorneys' fees, for bringing such an action. As a condition precedent to the filing of a civil action by an organization under this section, the organization shall send a notice to the office of highway safety of the Rhode Island department of transportation or its designee identifying the police department which is failing to collect or transmit the data and the organization shall then allow fifteen (15) days to elapse.

(m) The the office of highway safety of the Rhode Island department of transportation or its designee shall consult with community, police and civil rights representatives in the development of the form required by subsection (b) and on at least a quarterly basis shall consult on other issues that arise relating to the implementation and enforcement of this chapter including the information generated by the issuance of the reports required by subsection (i).

History of Section.
(P.L. 2004, ch. 331, § 1; P.L. 2004, ch. 356, § 1; P.L. 2015, ch. 214, § 2; P.L. 2015, ch. 235, § 2.)