A newly released report by the Oregon Criminal Justice Commission has found no evidence Eugene Police Department conducts traffic or pedestrian stops, enforcement actions, searches, or arrests in disparate proportions for black or Hispanic populations. The CJC released its report yesterday regarding Statistical Transparency of Policing Report (per House bill 2355).
Of all qualifying stops that are made by EPD officers, 100 percent are reported, as EPD has an internal compliance program.
“EPD has been ahead of the curve with respect to developing a STOPs program to track vehicle and pedestrian stops so we can analyze our practices,” said EPD Chief Chris Skinner. “Our activity in this program dates back to 2012, when we purchased software and asked the vendor to include a module for data collection regarding traffic and person stops was included. This was well ahead of the 2017 passage of House Bill 2355. That’s a good indicator of our intentional work to ensure this community has information about how we conduct our stops. We want our community’s trust and having our stops evaluated is an important component. The CJC report results are confirming what I’d expect for our department. We have a longstanding training program for implicit bias, emphasis on professionalism, and strong cultural values for fairness and equity. The CJC report on our STOPs data confirms that our goals are being met and our community is experiencing professional service without discrimination toward any individual or group.”
Much work by Eugene Police, Police Commission and community groups and individuals has gone into developing this program and accompanying policy. EPD worked to consolidate guidance to officers in the new Professional Stops policy, which was developed following recommendations by the Police Commission. EPD also prepared a pilot project to collect and analyze demographic data on vehicle stops. The pilot project and policy development processes have included a panel of community experts and people with first-hand experience of bias, and a public forum to gather input from members of our community. EPD consulted with a number of technical experts for advice on software design and implementation. These individuals include officers, representatives from K-12 schools, higher education, ACLU, NAACP and the governor’s Law Enforcement Contacts Commission. EPD included the Department of Justice best-practices for this program.
The data collection system for this program was planned for during the City of Eugene’s 2012 purchase of SunGard, the new public safety system that replaced the mainframe system in use for approximately half a century. This was years prior to Oregon’s new legislation in 2017. During the 2012 purchase, a module for data collection regarding traffic and person stops was included, along with other modules needed for other tasks.
The Police Commission served in an advisory capacity with both the pilot program and professional stops policy.
While awaiting the professional stops module, on December 1, 2015, EPD tested a different data collection system, using an iPhone application to collect traffic stop data by a small group of officers to document discretionary traffic stops to help determine the best way to collect data, what kind of systems to use, and the possible costs in labor and money to do this. After the first six months, EPD assessed the app for needed changes and continued the testing for another six months. The project in 2015 focused solely on the use of smart-phone technology. The results helped determine the app was not the optimal collection method at this time, and SunGard has since provided the professional stops module for EPD to test.
In May or June 2017, EPD identified and selected 10 officers to test the new module. The officers shared a tablet to test the data entry software. In October through November 2017, all sworn personnel were trained and by December 2017, EPD officers had a 30-day practice window before formal data collection began in January 2018.
The STOP program’s soft rollout had afforded our staff the time to update our tablets and get familiar with the system. Starting January 1, 2018 the program began collecting data to be reported to the State of Oregon. The program has a 100% participation standard.
July 1, 2018, EPD began recording data pursuant to HB 2355 (all agencies that employ 100 or more LE officers were mandated to begin recording no later than July 1, 2018. In August 2018, EPD began uploading data to the Criminal Justice Commission.