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Proctor Institute Releases Traffic Stop Perspectives Report

The Samuel DeWitt Proctor Institute of Leadership, Equity, and Justice (Proctor Institute) has released one of its latest report on the perspectives of law enforcement.

Police/Civilian Encounters: Officers’ Perspectives on Traffic Stops and the Climate for Policing” is designed to increase understanding of traffic stop encounters and foster meaningful dialogue for improved relationships in communities.

Dr. Marybeth GasmanDr. Marybeth GasmanThe report focuses on addressing the gap in outcomes based on attitudes and perception by either party of an encounter, according to the author Dr. James Hyman, an assistant professor at Bowie State University. Moreover, the report delves into the perspectives and opinions of police officers themselves.

The new report is a sequel to an earlier paper in the series, “Police/Civilian Encounters: Understanding How and Why They Can Turn Deadly,” which examined encounters by proposing an algorithm for exploring how police and civilian behaviors, during traffic stops, proceed and how they can devolve into contentious, and sometimes fatal, events – particularly for Black men.

“A shortcoming of that first report was its inability to consider whether, and if so how, the attitudes and perceptions held by either party may have contributed to the encounter’s outcome,” said Hyman.

According to the report, traffic stops account for 40% of all civilian encounters with police, and 66% of officers in the study characterized traffic stops as more dangerous than calls for service.

“Police brutality is a continual problem, and we must understand the dynamics between those involved,” said Dr. Marybeth Gasman, Samuel DeWitt Proctor Endowed Chair and Distinguished Professor at Rutgers University. “We are seeing an increase in calls for a better system of policing. This kind of dialogue can foster accountability and ensure the safety of everyone involved.”

Said Hyman: “My goal, with this and future reports, is to foster a fuller understanding of these encounters in ways that may enable constructive dialogue between police authorities, communities and their leadership.”

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