Evaluating Official Data From a Municipal Police Force to Assess the Question of the Prevalence of Racial Profiling: Evidence From North Carolina

William R. Smith, North Carolina State University
Denise L. Bissler, North Carolina State University
Kennon J. Rice, North Carolina State University
Matthew T. Zingraff, North Carolina State University
Elizabeth L. Davison, Appalachian State University

Research on the presence and extent of racial profiling by municipal police forces has revealed a conflicting set of findings. Various methodological issues in the assessment of possible racial profiling are discussed as possibly accounting for the varying results. In addition empirical evidence is evaluated for a large urban police force in North Carolina. Stop and citation data are analyzed to determine if the deployment of police forces is a possible source of bias in police statistics and to determine if individual level attributes of officers can account for variation in the stops and citations of citizens, controlling for charcteristics of the patrol area and shift. Results are discussed and implications drawn for future research on possible racial profiling.

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Updated 05/20/2006