Denver Police to begin collecting demographic data from traffic and pedestrian stops

Posted at 7:25 PM, Aug 08, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-08 23:33:30-04

DENVER, Colo. -- Denver Police will soon begin collecting demographic data on people they encounter during traffic and pedestrian stops. 

The collection is part of a new effort to identify and correct any potential for profiling of the public, police said. 

Police will begin collecting data such as race, gender, and age, among other information by the end of the year. 

Denver Police Chief Robert White said Monday the recent controversy surrounding the deaths of civilians and officers in shootings helped the department decide to start the data collection, in an effort to be more transparent. 

“We want to collect the right data, we want it to be meaningful data, and we want to make some sense out of it, so obviously I’m concerned about the cost, but I’m concerned about it being done efficiently, effectively, and timely also,” said Chief White.  “It speaks to transparency, I can’t say for sure that we’re going to get a better outcome, I mean, hopefully the information will show that we’re, that we’re not doing any kind of profiling.”

The department is looking at states like California for guidance. The state of California has mandated that all departments collect demographic data on the people they encounter with suspicion that a crime has occurred.

However, California departments don’t have to have results until 2018.

Chief White said he doesn’t want to wait that long.

In Denver, results of the data collection could be ready as early as the end of this year. 

But Chief White pointed out several concerns with the process, including how long it will take officers to collect and input the data.

“If it’s going to take an officer 10 minutes for every stop to collect data, and they’re making 20 or 30 stops a day, that’s a lot of time being taken away when they should be out there protecting and patrolling this neighborhood,” said Chief White.  “I want to do as little as possible to take away from them being out in that community providing those services.”