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Are black drivers more likely to get pulled over in Grand Rapids than white ones? Study underway

Sep 6, 2016

Back in 2004, researchers found Grand Rapids police officers did not pull black drivers over at higher rates than whites ones.

But now, the city is getting an updated study.

It’s part of a broader effort to improve relations between minority communities and GRPD in reaction to riots in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014. Grand Rapids outfitted all officers with body cameras last year as part of the effort.

An outside firm will collect new data at key intersections, now through November. The data will help researchers determine if the city’s force is biased when pulling over or searching a vehicle.

“They’ve already got the police data that was from 2013, 14 and 15. Now they’re counting the demographics of the motoring public and then they’ll do comparisons,” Grand Rapids Police Chief David Rahinsky said.

“Lamberth (Consulting) is really a nationally recognized expert in this field and that’s who the city brought in to do this study. We’re looking forward to seeing what the results are,” Rahinsky said.

The same group recently did similar studies in Kalamazoo and Ann Arbor.

The results from Grand Rapids’ new study are expected by March.