2015 law requires all California law enforcement agencies to collect racial and identity information on traffic stops by 2021; Pasadena Police putting system in place, will begin collecting data in 2020
Published : Thursday, August 22, 2019 | 4:40 AM
Despite concerns from at least one City Councilmember that the City has dragged its feet, the Pasadena Police Department is gearing up to implement the state’s Racial and Identity Profiling Act a year ahead of the state’s required schedule.
The Act, known as RIPA or AB 953, was signed into law in 2015 and requires police departments to collect information about the traffic stops it conducts.
Officers must answer questions about the race, age and gender of people stopped, and why they were stopped.
The bill also requires the creation of a Racial and Identity Profiling Advisory Board to “improve diversity and racial and identity sensitivity” by investigating and analyzing state and local law enforcement agencies’ profiling policies and practices across California.
In a presentation to the Public Safety Committee Wednesday, Acting Deputy Chief Cheryl Moody reported how the Pasadena Police Department is reacting to the law.
The bill requires each state and local law enforcement agency to annually report to the Attorney General data on all law enforcement traffic stops conducted by the agency’s peace officers, and include specified information, including the time, date, and location of the stop, and the reason for the stop.
The bill would require Pasadena—which employs an average of 241 peace officers—to begin collecting data in 2021, and issue its first annual report by April 1, 2023.
Moody, however, told the Committee that the Department had already begun to implement the steps needed to begin the collection of stop data, starting last summer.
According to Moody’s presentation, the City hired a consultant last July to conduct a “needs assessment” for early implementation. The City also established a RIPA committee which reached out to the “Big 8” law enforcement agencies in California to develop a methodology for training, reporting, collection and eventual evaluation of stop data by the City’s Department of Information Technology.
Pasadena police have already developed its own Stop Data Collection forms to be used by officers in the field, to be used along with the standard Field Interview cards, Moody said. Field interview cards are primarily used to identify suspected gang members and include space for details such as gang tattoos, clothing, hairstyles and local affiliations or gang names.
The implementation of RIPA and the new collection forms will require that the City upgrade its Computer Aided Dispatch/Records Management System (CAD/RMS), reported Moody. The City currently uses a system owned by the City of West Covina, which is itself out of date.
“A department the size of PPD should have its own CAD/RMS,” the presentation noted.
The City is currently exploring options for its own in-house CAD/RMS to comply with the National Incident Based Reporting (NIBRS) system. That system would include the ability to extract RIPA data, according to Moody’s presentation.
The Department would be able to install the new system by the end of 2020, and begin collection of RIPA data by January 2021, a year before legally required.
The Department will also implement ongoing and continuous department-wide training, including Bias and Procedural Justice Training, “Why Did You Stop Me?” Tactical Communication, Implicit Bias Training, and POST (Peace Officer Training and Standards)-Principled Training.
The new and ongoing training will work along with the Chief’s Advisory Board, police and community dialogues, the monitoring of complaints and use of force, as well as Intermittent Range Training days for media, advisory council members and local community groups, according to the presentation.
“All of this is about the big picture,” said Police Chief John Perez, following the presentation. “This is a full look at how we police and why.”
City Manager Steve Mermell, who had previously been criticized by Councilmember John Kennedy over what Kennedy felt was slow implementation of the RIPA act, said Wednesday, “We are committed to this implementation, but we wanted to move at a careful pace.”
Said Kennedy, “As RIPA comes on board one full year ahead of when we were required to do so, we will learn additional data, so that the police chief and city manager, and the policy makers around the dais, will have that benefit, in helping our police department do what it must to make this community safer.”