Race and Policing
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This report is a joint effort between the Center for Policing Equity and the Yale Justice Collaboratory. The goal is to highlight the policies that science and experience say have the best chance to make the most progress towards producing public safety systems that are both effective and align with our values. This is not an exhaustive list. But it does represent the policies we believe should lead the charge towards re-imagining public safety.
How do you measure justice? It is a question that has confounded scholars, activists, and public servants since before it was even asked. Yet, despite the inherent philosophical, methodological, and logistical difficulties, law enforcement executives are increasingly asked to turn over data with the aim of evaluating how fairly they are doing their jobs. Rather than shrink from this task, courageous executives are seeking out partnerships with prominent researchers to solve this riddle and lead policing in the nation with respect to civil rights and public accountability.
The current report examines racial disparities in use of force across 12 law enforcement departments from geographically and demographically diverse locations and reveals that racial disparities in police use of force persist even when controlling for racial distribution of local arrest rates. Additionally, multiple participating departments still demonstrated racial disparities when force incidents were benchmarked exclusively against Part I violent arrests, such that Black residents were still more likely than Whites to be targeted for force.
The goal of this project was to identify what role (if any) individual officers played in the production of any observed racial/ethnic disparities and provide the San Jose Police Department (SJDP) and the broader San Jose community with new tools with which to measure--and improve--racial equity in San Jose policing. This assessment broadly engages three areas of possible disparity: pedestrian stops, complaints against an officer, and officer use of force against residents. The results reveal two major findings. First, individual officers play a significant role in producing a culture of equitable treatment at the SJPD. Second, the analyses reveal a novel way to use existing data to assess officer-level disparities.