Traffic Stop Data

The MSP is committed to unbiased policing and the equitable treatment of all persons. Department policy prohibits stopping or detaining anyone based solely on their race or ethnicity. 

Beginning Jan. 1, 2017, the MSP modified its reporting system to capture the race of persons encountered during traffic stops. Enforcement members record race/origin information from visual observation. If the enforcement member cannot determine the driver's race, the enforcement member may enter the race as unknown.

In August 2020, during a review of traffic stop data from 2017 - 2019, it was noted that the percentage of African American drivers being stopped has increased from 17.36 percent in 2017 to 20.54 percent in 2019. The increasing number of traffic stops involving African American drivers is noteworthy and merits a more in-depth review to ensure that department policies and practices are not resulting in the disparate treatment of some motorists.

Without more in-depth analysis, it would be premature to draw any definitive conclusions at this point. There are many factors that must be taken into account to develop a comprehensive understanding of what is occurring when it comes to traffic stop activity. Research in other states has shown that associated datasets such as geographic location, reason for stop, whether a search occurred, and the result of the traffic stop need to be factored into the analysis.

To perform this advanced research and analysis, the MSP will contract with an independent research firm to review and analyze our traffic stop data, taking into account all of the associated datasets. Once this advanced research and analysis is completed, the results will be shared publicly.

UPDATE: In January 2021, two researchers from the School of Criminal Justice at Michigan State University (MSU) were selected for the data analysis project. They are currently working with the department to develop an internal dashboard that will allow visualization of the department's traffic stop data for review by supervisors and the establishment of internal benchmarks that will identify instances where a disparity may exist. Future phases of the project will include the identification of more accurate external benchmarks to use for data comparison and analysis (rather than relying on US Census data), as well as conducting advanced analysis of the department's traffic stop data.

 

MSP Statewide Traffic Stop Data by Race of Driver: 2017 - 2020

  2017 2018 2019 2020
Race and Hispanic Origin Traffic Stops Traffic Stop % MI Census Pop. % Traffic Stops Traffic Stop % MI Census Pop. % Traffic Stops Traffic Stop % MI Census Pop. % Traffic Stops Traffic Stop % MI Census Pop. % *
American Indian and Alaskan Native 1,378 0.31% 0.50% 1,207 0.29% 0.50% 1,144 0.28% 0.70% 1,090 0.36% 0.70%
Asian 3,502 0.79% 3.1% 3,387 0.81% 3.20% 3,031 0.74% 3.40% 2,167 0.71% 3.40%
Black or African American 76,941 17.36% 13.60% 80,666 19.18% 13.60% 84,283 20.54% 14.10% 65,917 21.55% 14.10%
Hawaiian or Pacific Islander - - - - - - - - - 12 0.004% 0.00%
Hispanic or Latino 8,614 1.94% 5.10% 9,368 2.23% 5.20% 9,120 2.22% 5.30% 6,918 2.26% 5.30%
White 328,282 74.08% 75% 315,224 74.97% 74.80% 300,907 73.34% 74.70% 221,655 72.45% 74.70%
Unknown 24,432 5.51% 0% 10,624 2.53% 0.00% 11,796 2.88% 0.00% 8,181 2.67% 0.00%
Total 443,149 100% 97.3% 420,476 100% 97.3% 410,281 100% 98.2% 305,940 100% 98.2%

 

Notes:

Prior to 7/11/19, MSP records did not specifically identify the driver. In situations where multiple persons occupied a single vehicle, a sampling showed that the first person listed was usually the driver. These persons were categorized as "Likely Drivers." On 7/11/19, the system was modified to require the enforcement member to specify the driver. 

Michigan Census Population (Pop.) percentage does not add to 100 percent because the U.S. Census Bureau collects the race category of "Two or More Races," which the MSP does not capture.

Prior to 12/8/20, MSP included Hawaiian or Pacific Islander in the race category for "Asian." The U.S. Census Bureau does not provide an estimate for Hawaiian or Pacific Islander. 

*2020 U.S. Census Bureau data is not yet available; therefore 2019 U.S. Census Bureau data is referenced.

  

View Data by County
2017 - 2020 Traffic Stop Data by Race of Driver by County