Traffic stops are the most frequent way in which the public interact with law enforcement. Using data collected with my collaborators from Management Science and Engineering and the Computational Journalism lab, I’m developing new statistical tools to analyze police conduct at these stops.
My work so far has focused on investigating racial bias in searches at traffic stops. Subsequent work will explore the policy implications: which search types are most discriminatory? Are more diverse police departments less likely to exhibit bias? Since drugs are the most common form of contraband, have law changes, such as the legalization of marijuana, limited the opportunities for discrimination? These questions are hugely important, and the answers are in our data.