- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 7, 2015

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - The first analysis of police traffic stops in Connecticut has found that 17 of the 102 law enforcement agencies in the state pulled over minority motorists at significantly higher rates and warrant additional investigation and monitoring to avoid potential racial profiling.

State officials said the report released Tuesday was the most comprehensive examination of police traffic stop data among the 25 states in the U.S. that collect such information. Police officers in Connecticut are required to fill out forms containing information about each traffic stop under the state’s 1999 anti-racial profiling law.

For the report, researchers examined the first full year of data for police traffic stops - from October 2013 through September 2014 - and looked to see if minorities were pulled over at disproportionate rates compared with whites, when population and other data were factored in. The report stopped short of declaring whether racial profiling was going on.

Of the nearly 620,000 traffic stops made by police statewide during the yearlong span, about 13.5 percent of the drivers were black and 11.7 percent were Hispanic. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, about 8 percent of Connecticut’s population is black and 9.7 percent is Hispanic.

Michael Lawlor, an undersecretary at the state Office of Policy and Management, stressed that the report is “not an indictment” of any particular department, but only a tool to identify and address any problems.

“This kind of transparency has its own cleansing effect, and that’s the goal here,” Lawlor said.

The report singled out five agencies for having “statistically significant” racial or ethnic disparities in their data and said further investigation by researchers is needed. The five were Groton town police, Granby police, Waterbury police and state police troops C in Tolland and H in Hartford. Researchers also said that minorities pulled over by these agencies were more likely to have been stopped during daylight hours, when officers could see the race and ethnicity of the drivers.

Twelve other departments were found to have large racial or ethnic disparities in their data when compared with the statewide average of traffic stops involving minorities and other data. Those departments were East Hartford, Hamden, Manchester, Meriden, New Britain, New Haven, Newington, Norwich, Stratford, Waterbury, Wethersfield, and Windsor.

The report was written by Central Connecticut State University’s Institute for Municipal and Regional Policy and the Connecticut Economic Resource Center Inc., a nonprofit economic development agency.

Officials with the Groton town police, Granby police and Waterbury police said Tuesday they were still reviewing the report.

“I was absolutely shocked,” Granby Chief Carl Rosensweig said, adding that he doesn’t believe there is racial profiling in his department. “I didn’t think for a moment that we would be on a list like that.”

Dora Schriro, commissioner of the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, which oversees state police, said in a statement that further analysis of the data will be conducted and any “deficiency” identified will be addressed immediately.

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