California Racial and Identity Profiling Advisory Board Releases Fourth Annual RIPA Report

Monday, January 4, 2021
Contact: (916) 210-6000, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

New RIPA report contains first full-year analysis of stop data in California 

California Department of Justice highlights expanded access to RIPA data through online data dashboards on OpenJustice

SACRAMENTO – The California Racial and Identity Profiling Advisory Board (Board) today announced the release of its fourth annual report on racial and identity profiling in policing in the state as required under the Racial and Identity Profiling Act of 2015 (RIPA). The report contains an analysis of the nearly 4 million vehicle and pedestrian stops conducted by California’s 15 largest law enforcement agencies in 2019. The report also examines civilian complaint data, provides recommendations from the Board, and shares best practices in a number of areas, including on bias-free policing policies, bias by proxy and crisis intervention, and training. In addition to the Board’s latest report, the California Department of Justice (DOJ) is highlighting recently expanded access to RIPA data on stops in schools and search discovery rates through online dashboards on OpenJustice. Ultimately, this latest RIPA report aims to directly contribute to the conversation on police reform through data and research, policy recommendations, and accountability mechanisms that will help give communities, legislators, and law enforcement tools for innovative and critically-needed action.

“2020 has shown us that the work of the Racial and Identity Profiling Advisory Board is more critical than ever before,” said Sahar Durali, Co-Chair of the Board and Associate Director of Litigation and Policy at Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles. “This year’s RIPA report contains detailed data analysis of police stops and searches across racial and identity groups, as well as comprehensive best practices for law enforcement agencies to root out racial and identity profiling in their practices, policies, and culture and be accountable to their communities. I want to extend my deepest thanks and appreciation to the dedicated staff at the Department of Justice and community members who continually show up to RIPA Board meetings and offer us their experiences and expertise for their efforts this year.”

“On behalf of the California Police Chiefs Association, it has been my honor to represent our association alongside the many distinguished members of the RIPA Board. The data in this report will be used by our profession to evaluate our practices as we continue to strive for police services that are fair and impartial,” said Chief David Swing, Co-Chair of the Board and Past-President of the California Police Chiefs Association. “We know that successful policing outcomes are founded in strong community partnerships, we hope the information in this report will result in positive outcomes in our communities. I am ever grateful for the Peace Officers throughout our State who serve their communities with honor, working diligently each and every day to improve the quality of life for those they serve.”

“Another year of collecting RIPA data means a greater opportunity to address police reform with hard data,” said California Attorney General Xavier Becerra. “I want to thank the members of the RIPA Board — and our team at the DOJ involved in preparing this report — for helping make this critical information available to all. The more data we have about policing in our state, the more targeted and precise we can be in our reform and interventions.”

The information collected under RIPA includes data on peace officers’ perceptions of the demographics of stopped individuals. The purpose of collecting information on officer perceptions is to attempt to systematically document and analyze stops and searches to determine whether disparities can be found across demographics and geographies. The perceived demographic information collected includes a number of characteristics such as race or ethnicity, gender, age, disability status, English fluency, and LGBT identity. There are a number of methodologies to analyze stop data that can help determine if bias may exist, and the report relies on several well-established methods as reference points. However, as noted in the report, there are important limitations and caveats for each methodology that should be kept in mind when interpreting the data. Some of the key findings from the 2019 round of data collection and first full year of RIPA data include:

  • Reason for Stop: Across all racial and ethnic groups, the most common reason peace officers reported for initiating a stop was a traffic violation (85%) and the next most common reason was reasonable suspicion of criminal activity (12.1%). People who were perceived as Black had the highest proportion of their stops (21%) for reasonable suspicion while those who were perceived as Middle Eastern or South Asian had the lowest (4%).
  • Use of Force: People who were perceived as Black or Hispanic were more likely to have force used against them as compared to those perceived as White, whereas those perceived as Asian were less likely. The odds of having force used during a stop were 1.45 times greater for people perceived as Black, and 1.18 times greater for people perceived as Hispanic, as compared to those perceived as White.
  • Weighted Residential Population Compared to Stop Data: Using data from the 2018 American Community Survey, people who were perceived as Black were overrepresented in the stop data (+9.3% Points) and people perceived as Asian were underrepresented (-6.6% Points) as compared to population estimates.
  • Veil of Darkness Analysis: This method analyzes stops that were made during the intertwilight period, which is the time of day that can either be light or dark depending on the time of year. The proportion of individuals stopped after dark during this period was compared across perceived racial or ethnic groups. Having a lower proportion of stops occur in the dark compared to people perceived as White may indicate bias. People perceived as Hispanic were the least likely (-1.4% Points) to be stopped after dark compared to those perceived as White. Although not statistically significant, individuals perceived as Asian were the only group that were more likely (+0.2% Points) to be stopped after dark compared to those perceived as White.
  • Search Rates: Search rates refer to the proportion of stops that involved a search. People who were perceived as Black were searched at 2.5 times the rate of people perceived as White. While officers stopped more than twice as many people perceived as White as compared to people perceived as Black, there were more individuals who were perceived as Black who ended up being searched, detained on the curb or in a patrol car, handcuffed, or removed from vehicles. 
  • Search Discovery Rates: The search discovery rate refers to the proportion of individuals that officers searched who were found to be in possession of contraband or evidence. Compared to individuals who were perceived as White, search discovery rates were highest for people who were perceived as multiracial (+1.7% Points) and lowest for people who were perceived as Middle Eastern or South Asian (-2.8% Points). Altogether, individuals perceived as Black, Hispanic, and Native American had higher search rates despite having lower search discovery rates compared to individuals who were perceived as White.

For more on the data, members of the public are encouraged to review the online RIPA data dashboards available on OpenJustice. The dashboards provide a unique look at the data and give the public unprecedented access to information on stops and searches conducted by California’s largest law enforcement agencies. The two newest dashboards go into greater detail regarding on-campus stops of K-12 public school students and search discovery rates and outcomes of stops. The dashboards currently provide a look into the first wave of RIPA stop data and are in the process of being updated to incorporate the latest round of RIPA data collected during 2019. For more on the information contained in the 2021 Board report, members of the public are also encouraged to review the fact sheet and report appendices. The report appendices contain tabulated summaries of the data.

A copy of the report is available here. A fact sheet on the 2021 RIPA report is available here. A copy of the report appendices is available here. More information about the Board is available here.

In addition to the two RIPA data dashboards referenced above, a general dashboard is available on the DOJ website here.

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