Tracking racial disparities data

How is the police department taking data to track racial disparities and what actionable steps are they taking to decrease this?

Littleton Police Chief Doug StephensChief Douglas Stephens: Another great question and obviously very timely, given the police reform legislation that recently passed. I can tell you that the Littleton Police Department does capture certain data. We had not in the past analyzed specific ethnicity and racial data as a component of our operations. We are doing so now, and we’ll be doing so in the future because it’s necessary, and we can feel we can benefit from capturing that data to make sure that we are policing equitably among all races and ethnicities and genders. So as part of the police reform package, we have modified our data collection techniques. We’re currently in the process of working with a regional group of law enforcement agencies to make sure we’re all capturing the same things.

One of the challenges with the legislation is it’s fairly ambiguous in what we’re looking for. So we’re working to identify exactly what folks want us to capture so that we capture it accurately. Then once we do that, and as we do that, the reports will be published, and both through the state and then through Littleton PD, we are going to very soon have some additional measures that increase transparency for what we do and maybe answer some of the questions some folks have now, including our policy manual will be available online for anybody to look at all of our policies any time they want.

Then we do a number of reports annually, where we analyze everything from use of force. We do analyze bias-based policing annually based on stops and contacts, to a certain extent, and as far as the data captured, it is a little different than what the state is requiring. But those will be available online as well, and we’ll have a number of reports and analysis available soon so that folks can take a look at what we’re doing and bring in questions.