Policing Experts Release Guidebook for Stop Data Implementation: Guidebook to Serve as Resource for Implementing New Systems of Public Safety

September 30 2020

Today, the Center for Policing Equity (CPE) and the Policing Project at New York University School of Law released a guidebook for law enforcement agencies, government officials and communities with best practices for collecting, analyzing, and responding to data about traffic and pedestrian stops by law enforcement—a critical but often overlooked aspect of policing.

Police officers in the United States pull over more than 50,000 drivers every day, making the traffic stop a key element of modern policing and the most common interaction that members of the public have with law enforcement. Fines and fees from stops can result in serious financial burdens, and research suggests that both traffic stops and pedestrian stops disproportionately impact communities of color, low-income individuals and rural residents. Stops have also been linked to an increase in instances of racially discriminatory practices, including racial profiling, as well as illegal searches and use-of-force incidents.

Following recent events and public demands for greater accountability of law enforcement, this Guidebook comes at a crucial time. Comprehensive data about police stops can help to identify and address these disparate and harmful outcomes. Without them, we risk missing the harms in need of remedy. While some states are taking steps toward collecting comprehensive stop data, the majority have no standard police stop data collection or oversight.

The new guidebook from CPE and the Policing Project, “Collecting, Analyzing, and Responding to Stop Data: A Guidebook for Law Enforcement Agencies, Government, and Communities,” offers best practices for implementing and evaluating stop data collection with the goal of guiding both legislative efforts and internal reforms within policing agencies.

The guidebook was written with support from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services and in collaboration with the California Department of Justice.

“This Guidebook concludes, above all, that stop data collection is essential and benefits both law enforcement and the communities they serve,” said Dr. Phillip Atiba Goff, Center for Policing Equity Co-founder and CEO and Professor of African American Studies and Psychology at Yale University. “We hope law enforcement departments and all of us committed to rethinking public safety will use this research and the recommendations to chart a path forward in reimagining how we create fair and equitable systems that work for everybody.”

“While we are heartened to see so many embracing the idea of reimagining public safety, we also see many jurisdictions struggle to take the first steps,” said Barry Friedman, founder of the Policing Project at the New York University School of Law and the Jacob D. Fuchsberg Professor of Law at New York University. “The simple truth is – we cannot create equitable, democratic policing unless we can measure the impacts of both the current system and our efforts to improve it.  This Guidebook offers necessary guidance for jurisdictions seeking to do just that.” 

To learn more and to read the Guidebook, please visit here.  


About Center for Policing Equity: As a research and action organization, Center for Policing Equity (CPE) produces analyses identifying and reducing the causes of racial disparities in law enforcement. Using evidence-based approaches to social justice, we use data to create levers for social, cultural and policy change. Center for Policing Equity also holds a 501(c)3 status.

About The Policing Project at New York University School of Law: The Policing Project at New York University School of Law is a non-profit organization that partners with communities and police to promote public safety through transparency, equity and democratic engagement.

Founded in 2015 by Barry Friedman, Jacob D. Fuchsberg Professor of Law and Affiliated Professor of Politics at NYU Law and author of Unwarranted: Policing Without Permission, the Policing Project focuses on front-end, or democratic, accountability—ensuring the public has a voice in setting transparent, ethical, and effective policing policies and practices before the police or government act. Our work aims to achieve public safety in a manner that is equitable, non-discriminatory, and respectful of public values.