- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 18, 2017

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) - The results of a 2017 race-based traffic stops study will be presented to the public and the Grand Rapids Police Department in upcoming town hall meetings.

Lamberth Consulting Inc., an independent group, will share its methods and findings from the $157,000 study Tuesday and Wednesday during four community meetings, the Grand Rapids Press (https://bit.ly/2oIFk33 ) reported.

The study assessed if there’s a disparity against minorities in traffic stops by determining if Grand Rapids officers unreasonably stop more minorities than others. Surveyors observed 20 locations in the city and recorded drivers’ demographic information. They then compared the information to traffic stops made in those areas between 2013 and 2015.

“If the study shows that officers do show racial bias during traffic stops, we want to know and will take steps to rectify the situation,” Police Chief David Rahinsky said.

The study only focused on the race of the driver and not of any passengers. It also didn’t include the race of the police officer involved, information about their attitude or actions during each stop.

The study’s results fulfill one of 12 recommendations made by City Manager Greg Sundstrom in January 2015 to improve relationships between Grand Rapids police and community members.

“The men and women of the Grand Rapids Police Department are committed to this community and have willingly and enthusiastically welcomed the transformation of this department to implement the recommendations in early 2015,” Rahinsky said.

Sundstrom’s next recommendation is a separate study looking at the disparity of arrest rates. Notes from an August community meeting at Rockford Construction said that study will be done in the near future.

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Information from: The Grand Rapids Press, https://www.mlive.com/grand-rapids

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