Study on SPD's contact with civilians and race released - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Study on SPD's contact with civilians and race released

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The report “Officer Contacts with Civilians and Race in the City of Spokane: A Quantitative Analysis,” by Ed Byrnes, Ph.D., Associate Professor at Eastern Washington University (EWU) and Brad Arleth, Police Captain with the Spokane Police Department. The report “Officer Contacts with Civilians and Race in the City of Spokane: A Quantitative Analysis,” by Ed Byrnes, Ph.D., Associate Professor at Eastern Washington University (EWU) and Brad Arleth, Police Captain with the Spokane Police Department.
SPOKANE, Wash. - The results of a five-month study by an Eastern Washington University Associate Professor and a Spokane Police Captain were released on Thursday. 


The study by Ed Byrnes, Ph.D., and Captain Brad Arleth, "Officer Contacts with Civilians and Race in the City of Spokane: A Quantitative Analysis" took plays from March to August 2014 and was conducted with the purpose of using data to inform ways for improve police-community relations. 


The study concluded: 


1. Officer use of force is a rare occurrence, occurring in only 22 contacts, which was only 0.3% of all the contacts analyzed, and race was not a significant factor relating to use of force;

2. Although there were racial disproportionalities observed in searches and arrests, the reasons that these searches and arrests occurred were equivalently distributed across racial groups;

3. There is therefore no indication of racially biased decisions by officers in their reasons for searching or arresting civilians they come into contact with;

4. There was observed racial disproportionality in the rate of contacts between civilians and officers, and it appears that this initial disproportionality is what drives the subsequent disproportionalities in searches and arrests.

Dr. Brynes developed an electronic web-based instrument used by Spokane Police Department Officers. For the information to be counted in the study, the contact had to be an in-person interaction between a civilian and an officer, or it had to be contact that either involved an officer detaining a citizen or was likely to involve an officer detaining a citizen. 

The study shows racial disproportionality being observed in contacts, arrests and searches of civilians. Based on the small number of use of force incidents, the study concluded it was premature to offer an analysis between race and use of force. 

To read the report in full, click on the PDF link to the right of this article. 


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