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By Stephen Hadland
Culver City Observer Editor & Publisher 

Report on Racial Identity Profiling to Community Members

 

Culver City Police Chief Jason Sims

On April 4, community meeting offered by the Culver City Police Department to review the Racial Identity Profiling Act (RIPA) data for the year 2023 took close to two hours, and included opportunities to ask questions.

The meeting was led by Dr. Paul Conor, a specialist in organizational psychology who consulted on the presentation.

Conor TOLD THE GROUP that the California law mandates all state and local law enforcement agencies to collect and report detailed information about every person detained and/or searched by police.

What is currently collected is the "perceived ethnicity" of people who are detained by the police. "Detained means the police have stopped you and you are not free to go." Of the detentions in the report, 19% were community generated calls for service, and 81% were police initiated stops. The data adds up to 6,794 police initiated detentions.

Since 2018, when the department shifted away from what was described as low level mechanical violations broken tail light kind of things)to focus more on hazardous moving violations, like speeding," there has been a 60% drop in traffic stops.

The data collected were broken into three categories Culver City residents, residents of cities that border Culver City, and commuters. CCPD Sargent Edward Baskaron noted "92% of the people we pull over are not Culver City residents."

The traffic through the city – as evidenced by the data from the license plate readers and red light cameras – is daunting. "We see 17 million license plates per month, that's the total of reads we get- and only 1.6 million of those are unique reads, meaning we only see that plate once." With automated license plate readers at intersections throughout the city, that's a considerable amount of data. According to that information, approximately 300,000 drivers commute through Culver City daily.

While the key term "perceived" is a part of the law, the detaining officer's perception of the ethnicity of the person being stopped is what goes in the record. "If they have a Driver's License, that helps, but if they don't we have to figure that out." Of those detained, 31% were noted as Black, and 37% as Hispanic. People classified by age showed that 53% of those detained were between the age of 26 and 40, and 74% were identified as male.

Of the people running red lights cameras, 47% of those were both white and Culver City residents.

Connor added, "is on the importance of collecting good data. I work with 52 other [police] departments in California, and this is the only agency I'm aware of that puts this much effort into analyzing the data. We also need to look at things that might be anomalous, and ask what we can do to improve."

Culver City Police Chief Jason Sims noted that this was only the second year that the department had produced a RIPA report, and that adding in the data from the red light cameras, as well as adding zip codes to detention stops, were both enhancements that helped to flesh out the numbers. He offered that "nothing in this is an exact science; the idea of adding zip codes is new, and if it's not valuable, maybe we don't [use that information] next year."

 

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