Police tactics and training have been under fire in the past decade due to the rise of high-profile, on-camera incidents. Many of the incidents that called into question involve a police officer’s actions against people of color. One of the most notable experiences that many Black people can relate to is being pulled over for a “DWB,” better known as “driving while Black.” A report by the Washington Post has revealed a startling statistic. Police reports have shown Black drivers are less likely to possess drugs or guns than White drivers are. However, Black drivers are still three times more likely to get stopped by a police officer.
Why is this? Are police making decisions about who is suspicious or not based on some underlying racial bias? That is hard to know for sure. One thing that has been shown in major cities like Chicago, for example, police have stopped Black drivers five times as much as they do White drivers. Out of all of the stops, they have found 30% less contraband on Black drivers than they have on Whites.
If racial bias is an issue in the minds of those that serve our community, how can it be changed? Some researchers feel that an increase in positive community interactions with minorities can help eliminate some of it. Seeing as roughly only 2.5 percent of all stops end up in a search, the hard numbers may not be so easy to spot for the average patrolman. Whatever solutions police forces choose to address this issue, the numbers should be taken into account to at least lower the tensions of many black drivers on the road today.