Report finds problems with Connecticut police racial profiling data were largely mistakes

Marcus Solis Image
Thursday, February 1, 2024
New report says Connecticut police misreported racial profiling data
Marcus Solis has more on the new report's findings.

CONNECTICUT (WABC) -- A report released Thursday found that the Connecticut State Police significantly misreported racial profiling data for years, but much of it was likely not intentional.

While investigators referred seven officers with discrepancies in their data to state police internal affairs for further review, another 74 were found "not likely" to have committed misconduct, the report said. They also said there was no evidence any trooper engaged in misconduct with the specific intent of skewing the state's police racial profiling data.

The outside review was ordered by Gov. Ned Lamont after an audit last year identified dozens of troopers who may have submitted false or inaccurate information on thousands of traffic stops believed to have never happened to the state's system for preventing racial profiling. That data made it appear troopers pulled over more white motorists than they actually did, auditors said.

The audit by data analysts at the University of Connecticut led to the replacement of the state's public safety commissioner and state police commander. The audit sowed doubt about the accuracy of periodic reports on the race and ethnicity of drivers pulled over by police statewide, which have shown that police disproportionately pull over Black and Hispanic motorists.

The outside investigators, led by former federal prosecutor Deirdre Daly, said they found "significant failures" by state police in reporting accurate data because of inadvertent errors, but said the scope of potential misconduct was far smaller than the audit suggested. Many of the problems were due to a lack of training of troopers and failures by leadership, the report said.

"That data is relied upon by advocates, by public officials, by elected officials, it is important," said Connecticut State Public Safety Commissioner Ronnell Higgins.

Lamont ordered the independent probe that reviewed data entered by over 100 troopers dating back to 2018. It found "the inaccuracies in the data are significant, and remedial measures must be undertaken."

But it found some troopers over-reported stops to appear more productive to supervisors in hopes of promotion. Others reflected sloppy record keeping.

The governor is stressing the report's overall conclusion that troopers were unlikely to have intentionally falsified records.

"I have as much confidence in my state police today as I've ever had," Lamont said.

However, a Fairfield County attorney and state NAACP leader says systemic or not - bad data is bad data.

"We don't know now what the real numbers are when it comes to Black and Latinos because these numbers are skewed, and that drives a wedge between where we were heading in trying to get accurate numbers," said attorney Darnell Crosland.

The six troopers and one constable whose traffic stop records couldn't be reconciled have been placed on modified duty and referred to an internal affairs investigation.

The ticket data also is being investigated by the U.S. departments of Justice and Transportation.

Lamont and Higgins said a number of steps have already been taken to ensure the data is entered accurately, including placing computers in all police cruisers, training for troopers and supervisors, and auditing of the data.

The governor also plans to appoint an independent consultant to oversee data collection.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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Josh Einiger has the exclusive report.


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