Racial and Identity Profiling Act data

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What is the Racial and Identity Profiling Act (RIPA)?

The Racial and Identity Profiling Act of 2015 (RIPA), also known as AB 953, added section 12525.5 to the California Government Code to specify certain reporting requirements concerning stops by law enforcement officers.

Berkeley Police Department RIPA Data

The Berkeley PD RIPA stop data have been posted on the City of Berkeley's Open Data Portal since December 23, 2020. The initial data release covered the months of October and November, 2020. Updates are to be released on the 15th of each succeeding month.

The Berkeley Police Department, a California law enforcement agency with fewer than 334 officers, was required to begin collecting data on or before January 1, 2022, for an annual report to the California Attorney General on April 1, 2023. Berkeley PD transitioned to collecting RIPA stop data effective October 1, 2020 (14 months before the RIPA requirement). By its own account the Berkeley PD will begin reporting RIPA data to the California Department of Justice effective January 1, 2021.

BPD RIPA Data Definitions

Berkeley Police RIPA Stop Data Definitions set forth descriptions of the data fields captured for reporting under RIPA. Reportable data for RIPA are generally prescribed by regulation, specifically California Code of Regulations Title 11 Division 1 Chapter 19 Articles 1-6 (CCR).

About the Stop

  • Law Enforcement Agency (LEA) Record ID: Unique sequential number assigned to every stop. Record may contain more than one person stopped.
  • Type of Stop: vehicle, bicycle, pedestrian
  • Location: Location of stop including address, block number, intersection, landmark, or other description
  • Latitude of Location
  • Longitude of Location
  • City: City of Location of stop
  • Date of Stop
  • Time of Stop
  • Is stop made in response to call for service? (yes/no)

Reason for Stop

The primary reason why the officer stopped the person(s) in accordance with CCR Article 3(a)(10).

  • Traffic violation: moving violation; equipment violation; non-moving violation, including registration violation
  • Reasonable suspicion that person was engaged in criminal activity
  • Person known to be on parole/probation/PRCS/mandatory supervision
  • Outstanding arrest warrant/wanted person
  • Investigation to determine whether person is truant
  • Consensual encounter resulting in search

The officer is also to provide a brief (250-character maximum) explanatory narrative with additional detail beyond the text of the codes on the list.

Result of Stop

The outcome of the stop in accordance with CCR Article 3(a)(13).

  • No action
  • Warning (verbal or written)
  • Citation for infraction
  • In-field cite and release
  • Custodial arrest pursuant to outstanding warrant
  • Custodial arrest without warrant
  • Field interview card completed
  • Noncriminal transport or caretaker transport (by an officer, ambulance, or another agency)
  • Contacted parent/legal guardian or other person responsible for minor
  • Psychiatric hold (pursuant to Welfare & Institutions Code sections 5150 and/or 5585.20)
  • Contacted U.S. Department of Homeland Security (e.g., Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Customs and Border Protection)

Stops at a Public School

Additional data elements are reported for stops at a public school in accordance with the California Education Code.

  • Is Location a K-12 public school? (yes/no) If yes, then elements below are to be completed.
  • School name
  • If stop was at a K-12 public school was the person stopped a student? (yes/no)
  • Education Code section violated
  • Education Code subdivision violated

About the Person(s) Stopped

  • Person number: sequential number of each person who was stopped within each LEA Record ID
  • City of Residence of person stopped
  • Perceived Age of person stopped
  • Perceived Gender of person stopped
  • Was person perceived to be gender-nonconforming? (yes/no)
  • Is person LGBT? (yes/no)
  • Did person have Perceived or Known Disability? (None or as specified)
  • Did person have limited or no English fluency? (yes/no)
  • Was race perceived prior to stop? (yes/no)
  • Perceived Race or Ethnicity of person

Perceived Race or Ethnicity

Determination of race or ethnicity based on officer's personal observation only. The officer shall not ask the person stopped for the person's race or ethnicity, nor ask questions or make comments designed to elicit this information.

Any or all of the following data values shall be selected, as applicable:

  • Asian (refers to Far East or Southeast Asia original peoples)
  • Black/African American
  • Hispanic/Latino(a)
  • Middle Eastern or South Asian
  • Native American
  • Pacific Islander
  • White

About the Officer's Action

Actions Taken

Reportable actions taken by the officer toward a person are drawn from this list (Excel spreadsheet) in accordance with CCR Article 3(a)(12)(A).

  • None (only if none of the below actions have been taken)
  • Person removed from vehicle by order
  • Person removed from vehicle by physical contact
  • Field sobriety test conducted
  • Curbside detention
  • Handcuffed or flex cuffed
  • Patrol car detention
  • Canine removed from vehicle or used to search
  • Firearm pointed at person
  • Firearm discharged or used
  • Electronic control device used
  • Impact projectile discharged or used (e.g., blunt impact projectile, rubber bullets or bean bags)
  • Canine bit or held person
  • Baton or other impact weapon used
  • Chemical spray used (e.g., pepper spray, mace, tear gas, or other chemicals)
  • Other physical or vehicle contact
  • Person photographed
  • Asked for consent to search person (specify Yes/No below)
  • Search of person was conducted (complete Basis for Search below)
  • Asked for consent to search property (specify Yes/No below)
  • Search of property was conducted (complete Basis for Search below)
  • Property was seized (complete Property Seizure below)
  • Vehicle impounded
  • Admission or written statement obtained from student (for student at K-12 school only)

The officer is also to provide a brief (250-character maximum) explanatory narrative with additional detail beyond the text of the codes on the list.

Basis for Search

The officer is to provide the basis for any search conducted, drawn from a list in accordance with CCR Article 3(a)(12)(B).

  • Consent given
  • Officer safety/safety of others
  • Search warrant
  • Condition of parole/probation/post-release community supervision (PRCS)/mandatory supervision
  • Suspected weapons
  • Visible contraband
  • Odor of contraband
  • Canine detection
  • Evidence of crime
  • Incident to arrest
  • Exigent circumstances/emergency
  • Vehicle inventory (for search of property only)

The officer is also to provide a brief (250-character maximum) explanatory narrative with additional detail beyond the text of the codes on the list. A narrative is not required if the basis is "Condition of parole/probation/PRCS/mandatory supervision."

Contraband or Evidence

The contraband or evidence discovered, if any, is drawn from a list in accordance with CCR Article 3(a)(12)(C).

  • None (if none of the entries below apply)
  • Firearm(s)
  • Ammunition
  • Weapon(s) other than a firearm
  • Drugs/narcotics
  • Alcohol
  • Money
  • Drug paraphernalia
  • Suspected stolen property
  • Cell phone(s) or electronic device(s)
  • Other contraband or evidence

The officer is also to provide a brief (250-character maximum) explanatory narrative with additional detail beyond the text of the codes on the list.

Basis for Property Seizure

If the officer seized property during the stop, regardless of whether the property belonged to the person stopped, then the basis for seizure is to be drawn a list in accordance with CCR Article 3(a)(12)(D)(1).

  • Safekeeping as allowed by law/statute
  • Contraband
  • Evidence
  • Impound of vehicle
  • Abandoned property

Type of Property Seized

The type of property seized is drawn from a list in accordance with CCR Article 3(a)(12)(D)(2).

  • Firearm(s)
  • Ammunition
  • Weapon(s) other than a firearm
  • Drugs/narcotics
  • Alcohol
  • Money
  • Drug paraphernalia
  • Suspected stolen property
  • Cell phone(s) or electronic device(s)
  • Vehicle
  • Other contraband or evidence

About the Offense

Suspicion Offense Codes

Offense codes reference the California statute(s) for which the person has been cited.

All applicable circumstances that gave rise to the officer's reasonable suspicion is drawn from a list in accordance with CCR Article 3(a)(10)(A)(2).

  • Officer witnessed commission of a crime
  • Matched suspect description
  • Witness or victim identification of suspect at the scene
  • Carrying suspicious object
  • Actions indicative of casing a victim or location
  • Suspected of acting as a lookout
  • Actions indicative of a drug transaction
  • Actions indicative of engaging in a violent crime
  • Other reasonable suspicion of a crime

The officer is also to provide a brief (250-character maximum) explanatory narrative with additional detail beyond the text of the codes on the list.

Citation Offense Codes

Offense codes reference the California statute(s) for which the person has been cited.

Custodial Arrest Offense Codes

Offense codes reference the California statute(s) for which the person has been cited.

In-field Cite-and-Release Offense Codes

In-field citation offense codes reference the California statute(s) for which the person has been cited.

Warning Offense Codes

Warning offense codes reference the California statute(s) for which the person has been warned or advised.

Traffic Violations

  • Traffic violation type: moving violation, equipment violation, non-moving violation
  • Traffic violation offense codes reference the California Vehicle Code violation for which the person has been cited.

Reading RIPA data

Confirmation bias is a danger with any data set, especially one as controversial as how law enforcement interacts with the public.

The RIPA data are extremely rich and can be used in many analyses. However, there are some important constraints that must be understood so that unsupported inferences are not made (or allowed to stand when made). Other data not found in RIPA may be needed to support such inferences, such as body camera footage.

Data points not found in RIPA data

About the officer

CCR Article 3(a)(14) requires the law enforcement agency to disclose to the Attorney General the Officer's Identification Number, a permanent identification number assigned by the reporting agency to the reporting officer, for all RIPA reporting. This Identification Number is considered Unique Identifying Information, and so is not included in the BPD RIPA stop data. For similar reasons the BPD RIPA stop data do not present:

  • Officer's demographic data
  • Officer's rank
  • Officer's training

CCR Article 3(a)(15) requires the law enforcement agency to disclose to the Attorney General the reporting officer's years of experience as a peace officer. This datum is not included in the BPD RIPA stop data.

About the stop

Certain characteristics of a reported stop are not reflected in the BPD RIPA stop data:

  • Number of officers present for the stop
  • Number of officers active near the same location and time, even if not involved with the reported stop
  • Hours into the shift of the reporting officer at the time of the stop
  • Handoff from one officer to another in the location at a time "near" that of a stop

Appropriate Uses of RIPA data

Who was stopped and what were the outcomes?

This is a perfectly appropriate use of the data and can be used to explore additional questions, such as

  • What were the actions resulting from the stop, such as arrest, warning, citation, etc. ?
  • What were the perceived identifying characteristics of the person - race, age, gender, etc.
  • When, where did the stop occur?
  • What was the reason the officer gave for making the stop?
  • How long did the stop last?

Inappropriate Uses of RIPA data

Who should have been stopped and was not?

Who should NOT have been stopped and was not?

These questions can be treated together.

Consider two demographic populations that, for illustrative purposes, we will call Blue and Green.

At a certain location and during a certain period of time, RIPA tells us that 5 Blues and 10 Greens were stopped. So, two greens were stopped for every one blue. Using RIPA *we cannot claim that officers are biased against Green people*.

This is so because we do NOT know the following:

  • How many of each group passed through the location? Scenarios that would upend the simplistic inference above include:
    • If 100 Greens and only 5 Blues passed through the location, we would begin to suspect that the bias went in the other direction: against Blues.
    • If exactly 10 Greens and 5 Blues passed through and all of them were stopped, we cannot make an inference.
  • How many passed through without triggering a stop?
    • 500 Greens passed through and only 10 were stopped
    • 5 Blues passed through and all 5 were stopped
  • How many passed through and should have been stopped?
    • 500 Greens passed through, all traveling at high speed, but only 10 were stopped
  • What is the total population that passes through at certain times of year?
    • Cal is in session and the balance of Greens/Blues is altered
    • It's nighttime -- Only 10 Greens are out
    • It's a workday -- 500 Greens commute by car;10 Blues commute
  • What are the economics of a driver? Particularly relevant for expired registration and damaged vehicle stops:
    • The car is borrowed
    • The driver is wealthy but drives an old car
    • The driver is out of work and so has no income, but owns a new car
    • Blues drive older cars; Greens drive newer cars and so are stopped less for damaged vehicle observations

How did the interaction between law enforcement and the person unfold?

RIPA does not have a record of who said what to whom, whether the interaction was courteous, etc. The only complaint against a BPD officer that has been upheld in years was for discourtesy and we cannot know if that did or did not occurr during a stop using RIPA data. Body cameras are needed.

For a given time window, we do not know if -- outside of scheduled shift changes -- a highly biased officer took over for a less biased officer. So, longitudinal observations over short periods are suspect.