On November 9, Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities Executive Director Tanya Hughes and Deputy Director Cheryl Sharp attended the Connecticut Racial Profiling Prohibition Project Advisory Board meeting and participated in a discussion of the recently published November 2017 Racial Profiling Prohibition Project Report (“Traffic Stop Data Analysis and Findings, 2015-2016”). The report named seven Connecticut police departments that warrant further study due to racial or ethnic disparities in their traffic stop patterns. These departments are Berlin, Monroe, Newtown, Norwich, Ridgefield, Darien and State Police Troop B in North Canaan. A second report will be issued that further analyzes the data from these seven jurisdictions.
“The report released this week shows the importance of the work that the Racial Profiling Prohibition Project is doing. In order to eradicate the problem of racial profiling, we first need to also take a look at other forms of evidence,” said Hughes.
“The Project team is working diligently to ensure that multiple methods are used to determine disparities in an effort to provide the public with the most accurate data. Racial profiling is a problem across this country and Connecticut is not insulated from the issue,” stated Sharp.
The Racial Profiling Prohibition Project Advisory Board was created as part of a 2012 law passed by the Connecticut General Assembly to improve the enforcement of the Alvin W. Penn Racial Profiling Prohibition Act. The Alvin P. Penn Act, which was passed in 1999, prohibits any law enforcement agency from stopping, detaining, or searching any motorist if that stop is motivated solely by considerations of the race, color, ethnicity, age, gender, or sexual orientation of that motorist.
Beginning in 2013, all motorists involved in a traffic stop must be given a notice from law enforcement that informs them of their right to file a complaint regarding the stop. If a motorist believes he or she has been stopped, detained or subjected to search on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender or membership in any other protected class, he or she can contact either the police agency of the officer who conducted the stop or the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities.