Motor and Other vehicles
Traffic Stops Statistics
§ 31-21.1-4 Traffic stop study.
(a) The attorney general is authorized to and shall conduct a study of routine
traffic stops by the Rhode Island state police and each municipal police
department. The study shall include the collection and analysis of the data
received from the police department pursuant to this section, which shall
include the following information for each traffic stop conducted by the police:
(1) The date, time and general location of the traffic stop;
(2) The race or ethnicity, gender, and approximate age of the
driver stopped; provided that the identification of these characteristics shall
be based on the observation and perception of the police officer making the
stop and the information shall not be requested of the person stopped;
(3) The reason for the stop;
(4) Whether a search was instituted as a result of the stop;
(5) The scope of any search conducted;
(6) Whether the search was conducted pursuant to consent,
probable cause, or reasonable suspicion to suspect a crime;
(7) Whether any contraband, including money, was seized in
the course of the search, and if so, the nature of the contraband;
(8) Whether any warning or citation was issued as a result of
(9) Whether an arrest was made as a result of either the stop
or the search;
(10) The approximate duration of the stop; and
(11) Whether the vehicle is registered in Rhode Island or out
of the state.
(b) Not later than ninety (90) days after July 13, 2000, the
attorney general, with the advice of the committee, shall develop a form, in
both printed and electronic format, to be used by each police officer when
making a traffic stop to record the data required under this chapter.
(c) Beginning January 15, 2001, and monthly thereafter, each
municipal police department and the Rhode Island state police shall transmit to
the attorney general a report containing:
(1) All of the forms collected to date of motorists who were
(2) Any complaints filed by motorists who believed they were
the subject of racial profiling, provided that no information revealing the
identity of the complainant, witnesses or the law enforcement officer involved
in the traffic stop shall be used, transmitted or disclosed in violation of the
provisions of Chapter 28.6 of Title 42, the Law Enforcement Officers' Bill of
(3) Any other information the police department or Rhode
Island state police deem appropriate.
(d) The study authorized under this chapter shall include a
multi-variate analysis of the collected data in accordance with general
statistical standards. The attorney general shall collect data for a period of
not less than twenty-four (24) months and report its findings and conclusions
to the governor and the general assembly not later than thirty (30) months
after the commencement of the collection of data under this chapter. The
report, findings and conclusions submitted pursuant to this subsection shall be
deemed a public record.
(e) In addition, the attorney general, with the advice of the
committee, shall prepare on a quarterly basis a summary report of the monthly
data provided by each police department and the state police for that quarterly
period. The report shall be a public record. The summary report shall include a
monthly breakdown by race for each police department of the number of traffic
stops made and of searches conducted, and any other information deemed
appropriate by the attorney general with the advice of the committee. The
report shall be released not more than ninety (90) days after the end of each
quarterly period. No information revealing the identity of any individual shall
be contained in the report.
(f) Upon July 13, 2000, the attorney general with the advice
of the committee shall procure the services of an organization, company, person
or other entity with sufficient expertise in the field of statistics to assist
with the implementation of this chapter. The organization, company, person or
other entity so retained shall assist the attorney general and the committee
with the design of the methodology for gathering statistics pursuant to this
chapter, monitor compliance with the act throughout the study, and conduct a
statistical analysis at the conclusion of the study to determine the extent to
which racial profiling exists within the state.
(g) Appropriate funding shall be made available to implement
the provisions of this chapter.
(h) The department of attorney general shall be exempt from
the provisions of chapter 2 of title 37 in connection with its procurement of
equipment and services necessary to the implementation of this chapter.
History of Section.
(P.L. 2000, ch. 251, § 1; P.L. 2003, ch. 230, § 2; P.L. 2003, ch.
240, § 2.)