The Department of Government
The Department of Government

American Politics Speaker Series- Frank Baumgartner (Univ of North Carolina, Chapel Hill)

Driving While Black, Patrolling While White: Driver and Officer Characteristics in Routine Traffic Stops

Fri, September 13, 2019 | BAT 5.108

12:00 PM - 2:00 PM

Baumgartner
Baumgartner

The paper looks at the odds of searching the driver after a routine traffic stop, using publicly available data regarding both the characteristics of the driver as well as the officer, along with other control variables. Officer demographics prove to be a significant predictor of search, controlling for other factors, as do driver characteristics, as has previously been shown. White male officers search at more than double the rate of other officers, but all officers tend to use the same stereotypical target of the "criminal suspect". I conclude with a discussion of possible mechanisms generating these observations and discussing the importance of racial and gender diversity on the police force.

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