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Vehicle Stop Data history and information



In July 2000, the Sacramento Police Department undertook a comprehensive study of traffic stops to address perceptions of racial profiling. That study was conducted by the School of Policy, Planning and Development at the University of Southern California.  The Final Report: Police Vehicle Stops in Sacramento, CA, was completed by Dr. Howard P. Greenwald, Professor of Management and Policy on October 31, 2001.

In March 2004, City Council established a formal advisory commission to provide equitable representation, accountability, and reporting from Sacramento residents on this issue of national importance.  The Commission was also established to provide the City with a greater opportunity to be inclusive. In November 2004, City Council confirmed selections for membership on the Community Racial Profiling Commission (CRPC), the purpose of which was to assist the City with its racial profiling vehicle stop study. The CRPC held its first meeting in January 2005.

In February 2006, a second study was initiated.  Lamberth Consulting staff studied Sacramento Police Department processes of data collection and mapping, in-car camera recording of pedestrian and bicycle stops, and Police Department policies related to stops. The study’s benchmarking phase used data collected at 25 deployed locations (high traffic stop locations) and 30 random locations, to determine the racial makeup of the driving population at each location.  This method is considered to be a more accurate standard of measurement than that provided by using census data. Lamberth Consulting surveyors visited each benchmark location 8 times. 

Surveyors were accompanied by an SPD officer who provided transportation, security and lighting during all sessions where the ambient lighting was insufficient for accurate recognition of the race/ethnicity of motorists.  The results of their observations provided the data for determining the “odds ratio” (used to determine whether racial profiling is occurring) as the odds of a minority being stopped versus the odds of a minority available in the driving population to be stopped.  


 Officer talking to driver of vehicle


Lamberth Consulting staff conducted its study on data collected between December 1, 2007, and May 31, 2008. The CRPC members continued to meet with Lamberth Consulting staff throughout the duration of the data collection project and participated in a series of stakeholder meetings in the community following the study presentation to Council. Throughout the study, Police Department staff reported to the CRPC on the compliance percentages for data collection.

In response to the data collection study, the Police Department and the CRPC members created an electronic Vehicle Stop Data Form that captures 22 points of information for each traffic stop. The form captures the reasons for the stop, date, time and location of the stop, race and gender of the driver, specific driver identifiers, passenger information, search authorities, results of the stop, duration of the stop, call number, and officer identifier.  

Lamberth Consulting facilitated a workshop with members of the community and the Police Department on September 22, 2007, to prepare the CRPC, community, and City of Sacramento employees for the methods and meaning of the study. All attendees shared their perceptions of the study and of racial profiling, and provided constructive responses to the possible community response to the roll-out of the study results.  

On August 12, 2008, the final report for the Sacramento Police Department regarding the Vehicle Stop Data Analysis Project was presented by Chief Braziel and Dr. John Lamberth, Ph.D., of Lamberth Consulting to the City Council.  The report found there was a disparity in the number of African-American motorists that were stopped by SPD versus the number of African-American motorists in traffic and that these stops occurred at a “sufficiently substantial” magnitude.  The report also concluded that Hispanic drivers were stopped at a slightly higher rate than their representation in the traffic population but that this difference was not statistically significant.  Finally, the report concluded White and Asian drivers were stopped less than what would be expected based on their representation in traffic.  In regards to search and seizure, the report concluded that African-Americans and Hispanics were more often subject to search of their person and/or vehicle.

Based on this analysis, Lamberth Consulting made six recommendations for the Sacramento Police Department which have been implemented. The Sacramento Police Department reported on the implementation of these recommendations to the City Council on March 31, 2009.  

Current Developments

The CRPC was disbanded in 2016 and was replaced by the Sacramento Community Police Commission (SCPC).    The SCPC was established for the purpose of providing recommendations to the mayor and city council on bias-free policing and the implementation, evaluation and sustainability of efforts intended to strengthen community-police relations.  

Additional Information

On October 3, 2015, Governor Brown signed Assembly Bill (AB) 953, known as the Racial and Identity Profiling Act (RIPA) of 2015.  The Act includes requirements regarding a number of significant law enforcement issue including:

  • Collection of data regarding citizen complaints alleging racial and identity profiling
  • Collection of data regarding law enforcement stops and detentions
  • Creation of the Racial and Identity Profiling Advisory Board

The bill would require each state and local agency that employs peace officers to annually report to the Attorney General data on all stops, as defined, conducted by the agency’s peace officers, and require that data to include specified information, including the time, date, and location of the stop, and the reason for the stop. The bill would require an agency that employs 1,000 or more peace officers to issue its first annual report by April 1, 2019. The bill would require an agency that employs 667 or more but less than 1,000 peace officers to issue its first annual report by April 1, 2020. The bill would require an agency that employs 334 or more but less than 667 peace officers to issue its first annual report by April 1, 2022. The bill would require an agency that employs one or more but less than 334 peace officers to issue its first annual report by April 1, 2023.


Available Data

The Sacramento Police Department has expanded data collection practices to meet the requirements of this legislation.  RIPA data can be accessed through the CA Department of Justice's Open Justice Stop Data Portal.