Review Shows Traffic Stops Correspond to State Demographics

Contact: Shanon Banner, MSP Public Affairs, 517-284-3222, BannerS@michigan.gov

February 7, 2018

A review of the 460,446 traffic stops conducted by Michigan State Police (MSP) troopers in 2017 shows the race and ethnicity of those stopped corresponds closely with the state’s 2016 U.S. Census data.

“While I’m pleased with the results of this initial review, we will continue to monitor the data for any anomalies,” said Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue, director of the MSP. “Many factors are involved in the decision to stop a vehicle and these factors must be accounted for when analyzing traffic stop data.”

 

Race and Hispanic Origin

Total Traffic Stops

1/1/17 – 12/31/17

% of Traffic Stops

2016 U.S. Census

MI population

American Indian and Alaska Native

1,369

0.2%

0.7%

Asian

3,612

0.8%

3.1%

Black or African American

77,563

16.9%

14.2%

Hispanic or Latino

8,617

1.9%

5.0%

Unknown

25,619

5.6%

n/a

Two or More Races

n/a

n/a

2.4%

White

343,666

74.6%

75.4%

 

The department updated its reporting system beginning Jan. 1, 2017, to more accurately capture the race and Hispanic origin of persons encountered during traffic stops. Troopers are required to record the race and Hispanic origin from visual observation using the race categories as defined by the U.S. Census. MSP policy prohibits troopers from asking drivers their race. If the trooper cannot determine the driver’s race or Hispanic origin, the trooper may enter the race as unknown. This information provides supervisors and commanders with more precise data to review if questions arise regarding a trooper’s activity.

The MSP is committed to unbiased policing and the equitable treatment of all persons. Stopping motorists without proper grounds or using race to select whom a trooper stops is in direct violation of multiple longstanding MSP policies. If a trooper is accused of stopping a motorist without proper grounds, a thorough and objective internal investigation is conducted.