As part of the my ongoing open records work I requested the racial profiling data for our local DPS office. I received a breakdown of stops, citations, and searches by race/ethnicity for all stops in Kaufman county for the first 6 months of the year. Texas law requires the recording of this data, which anyone can ask for. Check out my open records 101 guide for a how to.
Let’s look at the data shall we. 13-2328 (13-06-25) letter to requestor.pdf
In the first 6 months of 2013 there were 7,312 total traffic stops by DPS in Kaufman County. 4,744 of those stops had white drivers, 1,685 had black drivers, and 439 had hispanic drivers. Asian, Indian, and “Other” are the remaining choices. I’m assuming Indian means Native American, but who knows.
So as far as stopping drivers is concerned roughly 65% of the stops are for white drivers, 23% black, and and 6% hispanic.
Now let’s look at at citations, you’d expect these numbers to say roughly the same % wise. There were 2,030 citations issued (that’s a lot of warnings, which is nice to see). 61% of the citations went to white drivers, 26% to black drivers, and 8% to hispanic drivers. Pretty much the same as the stop data. So far so good.
Now let’s look at consent searches. This is where DPS asks “Do you mind if I look in your vehicle?” Which is sort of a trick question. It’s designed to get you to say “No, go ahead” before you think about it. The correct is answer is yes, you do mind if some stranger tears through your car. This is America and privacy matters.
Troopers only ask to search if they think you are a criminal. Besides some Troopers will search your body cavity (or cavities) if you aren’t careful, so always say no and protect your orifices from rogue DPS Troopers. On to the data, in our 6 month period there were 55 consent searches in total. 55% had white drivers, 43% were black drivers, and 2% hispanic.
Now for probable cause vehicle searches. There are going to be cases where Troopers smell pot (rookie mistake), they call out the drug to check the car (FYI- any drug dog handler can make his/her dog alert on command, it’s not hard), or the driver admits he has drugs on him (another rookie mistake). We had 74 of those in 6 months, 47% had white drivers, 43% black,, and 4% hispanic.
Tip for mules, if you are headed East on 20, and you have out state plates and/or are driving a rental car, and you have a “dirty license plate” you are gonna have a bad time in Kaufman County. Trust me on this.
These are small sample sizes for searches, it would behoove someone to get more historical data for a larger sample set and check out those percentages. I hated math all my life until I took statistics in college, if I remembered what I learned I could do some regression analysis. You can draw your own conclusions from the numbers. I am just a messenger. I would like to remind my audience that drug use is nearly the same across all ethnic groups.