STOPS, FIELD INTERVIEWS, SEARCH AND SEIZURE
The Albany Police Department reported conducting 22,349 field interviews between January 2012 and May 2015, equivalent to an average of 545 stops each month. While the number of reported stops decreased over this three and a half year period, disparities among who was targeted for these stops remained fairly constant. On average, one of every 31 Hispanic residents and one of every 20 white residents were stopped by the police each year, compared with one of every eight black residents.
In response to our request for stop policies, we received an unrelated bulletin on bias-based policing. After our appeal, the Department told us that we were provided with “all directives, orders, guidance, procedures, memoranda, rules, regulations, forms, and other statements of policy concerning stops and/or filed interviews.”
It is essential for police departments to have policies in place governing the conduct of stops and field interviews. New York and federal law on police stops is complex, and without good – or for that matter, any – policies in place to guide officers, New Yorkers’ rights are at risk. Low-level stops and field interviews are among the most common encounters between police and members of the public, and they’re also some of the least transparent and most susceptible to abuse. New York City’s experience with the unconstitutional and racially discriminatory use of stop-and-frisk shows the potential for these types of encounters to destroy relationships between police and communities through widespread abuse.
Additional Department Policies and Data:
- Department Diversity
- Enforcement of Low-level Offenses
- Equitable Policing
- Police Misconduct
- Use of Force