GSO Police Chief Says Limiting Traffic Stops Led To Even Racial Split This Month

Dec 17, 2015

Greensboro's police chief is reporting a steep drop in racially disparate traffic stops.

A month ago, Chief Wayne Scott told officers to temporarily stop pulling over vehicles for minor equipment malfunctions. The experiment began in response to allegations the department was tougher on black residents. At the time, twice as many black drivers were being stopped as white drivers.

Scott says there's been a 30 percent drop in traffic stops in the past month compared with the same month last year. In the past month, there was an even split between white and black drivers pulled over.

"I don't think this is the fix. I think this is a good step, a good stop-gap while we understand the data. But it has definitely had a positive effect, and the effect that I desired as the chief when I decided to (make) this change."

In lieu of traffic stops, Scott says more of his officers are on foot in neighborhoods talking to residents and inviting them to public information meetings.

Scott says there's a lack of uniformity in data collection statewide, but says he wants to make his department as transparent as possible.

"Our vision here in Greensboro is that we will be a national model for exceptional policing, and we think this is the method by which we get there," he says.

Scott says he expects a full analysis of GPD's traffic data from North Carolina A&T and UNC-Greensboro by early February.