Criminal Justice Policy Review recently published Dr. Jeff Nowacki’s paper “Gender Equality and Sentencing Outcomes: An Examination of State Courts.”
An important source of racial disparity in policing is traffic enforcement. The level of discretion afforded to officers for traffic enforcement is generally greater than it is for other policing decisions. One way to control misuse oDf discretion is through minority representation, which is the extent that the racial composition of the police agency matches that of the local community. Using data from the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and the 2013 Law Enforcement Management and Administrative Statistics (LEMAS), this study examines how social context and police organizational variables (e.g., minority representation) relate to enforcement outcomes. We find that organizational measures, including minority representation, relate to written citations and consent search requests. Moreover, non-white population size conditions the effect of minority representation on traffic stops and citations. These results highlight the importance of accounting for both social context and organizational characteristics when research examines discretionary police behavior.